Spanish Tempranillo Taste Off

Every other month, the ten members of our Vintage Tasting Club meet to hold a blind tasting of six selected wines. For this meeting is was Spanish Tempranillo wines. Vintage Club member Joe was the host for this tasting and it was his responsibility to scour the local fine wine shops and read reviews on Spanish wines. Joe had also attended the Spanish Pantry wine tasting event and the Vibrant Rioja tasting event, both recently held in San Francisco.

What a dilemma for Joe to choose six wines, all under $20 with so many good Spanish wines available. Should all the wines be from Rioja, the most famous and well-known wine region of Spain? Should all the wines be the same vintage or labeled Crianza or Reserva, the terms that indicate by Spanish law the time a wine is aged in the barrel and bottle? After much pondering, a mix of wines was selected with various vintage dates. Two Tempranillo wines were chosen each from the Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Toro wine regions.

This was the closest scoring of any tasting we have had over the past two years. We enjoyed all the wines immensely and would not hesitate to purchase any of these wines again. These Spanish wines are excellent examples of the Tempranillo grape and the wines being produced by Spain at such reasonable prices. Here are the wines we tasted and the order we ranked them.

Finca Sobreño 2007, Toro – $17.99 – Spanish Table, Berkeley
Beronia 2005 Reserva, Rioja – $14.99 The Wine Stop
Fariña “Dama De Toro” 2004, Crianza Toro – $14.99 K&L Wines
Condado de Haza 2006 Crianza, Ribero Del Duero – $19.99 – Costco
Emilio Mora Finca R Resalso 2009 Cosecha, Ribero Del Duero – $15.99 Spanish Table
Bodegas Lan 2006 Crianza, Rioja – $9.99 – K&L Wines

Spanish Tempranillo wines should be part of any wine drinker’s collection. They are very food-friendly wines with great character and flavors. Head down to your local wine shop and see if they carry any of the wines we tasted. If not, the wine shop proprietor should be able to suggest some other Spanish wines to try. Grab a few bottles and organize your own taste test. You are sure to fall in love the the lovely Tempranillo wines from Spain.


  1. These Spanish Tempranillos were incredibly drinkable. I was told that the 2005 was “the year” when I went to the Wine Stop. The Beronia 2005 was listed in the top 100 for 2010 and it was a 90 or 91 by Robert Parker. What else could you ask for at $14.99?

  2. Tempranillo is an excellent entry wine for people who are just getting into reds. Generally speaking, the Temps are drinkable right out of the bottle. With a mild taste and low tannins, they should appeal to those who like simple but tasteful reds.

  3. These wines must truly be outstanding if the Condado de Haza came in fourth.

    That’s a delicious wine.

  4. George Johnson says

    This tasting was a useful introduction to Tempranillo. The wines were pleasing, with low tannins, adequate fruit, and friendly prices. I’d definitely try a Tempranillo again having tasted our six choices.

  5. What surprised me at the tasting was the extremely narrow range of preferences in the wines. The Toro, which I’ve tasted before at a very fine little tapas restaurant in San Jose, was the clear favorite. However, the other five wines were very close to each other in the tasting, which I’ve never experienced before!


  1. […] It is too bad that our favorite Albariño, the Longoria, is priced at $23. We enjoyed this wine but we can find many Spanish Albariño wines for under $15 that are just as tasty. I guess the same can be said for the Tempranillo wines we tasted. It is tough trying to compete with some of the big Spanish wineries that can export huge amounts of wines to the U.S at such a low cost. Recently we posted articles about Spanish Albariño wines and a taste-off we had of Spanish Tempranillo wines. […]

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