Learn about Tempranillo


Learn about Tempranillo

The Tempranillo grape is the grand grape of Spain. It is the most widely planted and most popular variety of Spanish wine. It is grown mostly in the Rioja, Ribera del Duero and the Toro wine appellations of Spain. Several California wineries also produce a Tempranillo. So far, I have found them to be much more expensive and robust than their Spanish counterparts.

Character of Tempranillo

Spanish Tempranillo tends to be medium bodied with a balance of acid and tannins, making for an ideal food-friendly wine. Tempranillo has many subtle characteristics including leather, tobacco leaves, herbs, and both red and black fruit flavors. Tempranillo flavors vary with how the wine is aged. The less time in oak barrels (mostly American Oak made in Spain), the more the fresh fruit shows through. The longer the time in barrels, the more the wine shows earthy characteristics and vanilla.

Rioja wine region produces the most Tempranillo wine. Typically, on the label of a Rioja wine, you will see one of three ages categories: Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva. Here are these three terms defined.

Under $20 Tempranillo wines we like

Foods we like with Tempranillo

Learn about Tempranillo from Rioja Winemaker Rafael Vivanco