Know & Savour Tempranillo With Its Greatest Styles
This International Tempranillo Day, raise a generous toast to Spain’s greatest vinous ambassador that has defined the country’s ferments and their tremendous international success.
Spanish wine is unique for so many good reasons, chief among is the fact that one red grape has come to define the country’s ferments and their tremendous international success. Tempranillo has for decades, been the central star of the Spanish wine universe, yielding vintages of spectacular power and elegance, rewarding Spain its distinct fame as one of the best producers of red wines. Almost 90 per cent of the world’s Tempranillo still comes from Spain and allures the world with a veneer of rich red fruit, vibrant acidity and succulent tannins. And today, as the world celebrates International Tempranillo Day, we’re shining a light on the thick-skinned grape that reigns over the Iberian Peninsula, producing a number of barrel aged styles across estates in Northern Spain. So trace Tempranillo’s journey, read about the regions that grow the fruit and styles that define the wine and all the best dishes to pair with this superb Spanish red. We also invite you to raise a generous toast with the finest of Tempranillo styles plucked from Spain’s best family Bodegas available at thewinepark.com. Cheers!
Great Grape StoryTempranillo’s vinous journey began in 1100 BC in Rioja in Northern Spain though serious production only began in the early 19th century. The grape’s original planters named the grape after the Spanish word, ‘Temprano’ which means ‘early’ since Tempranillo ripens relatively sooner in the ripening season hence the Early One. Tempranillo almost single handedly rejuvenated Spain’s wine industry post WWII and is synonymous not just the country’s most popular region Rioja but the country’s sought after red wines. Tempranillo is the fourth most planted grape variety globally, even though 80% is grown in Spain. Tempranillo is among the world’s nine red noble grapes.
Style BookThe classic Tempranillo style is medium to full bodied with intense colour and balance of red fruit and spicy palate with firm tannins. However, any given Tempranillo style is determined by its age. Young Tempranillo that has aged for around a year expresses up fruit flavours of plums, cherries and black pepper with fleshy tannins on the finish while older Tempranillo which has spent considerable time in barrel evolves a deeper palate with tones of figs and vanilla that denotes oak ageing. The tannins are visibly smoother and there’s a charming balance to the wine that rewards patience. Tempranillo age statements regulated by the state begin with Crianza that stipulates two years of ageing including a minimum six months under oak. Then there’s Reserva which denotes three years of ageing of which one has been spent in barrel and then there’s Gran Reserva which winemakers reserve their best batch of wine for, ageing wines for at least five years including 18 months barrel maturing.
Regional BossRioja is Spain’s most planted grape and thrives in Northern Spain where the thick skinned grape carpets most of the vineyards. Tempranillo does well in high altitudes, needing significant day night temperature contrasts to ripen well. Limestone laden and chalky soils yield a wine of elegant fruit and tannic balance. And that’s the predominant soil underneath Rioja’s vineyards. Rioja is Spain’s most significant red wine region and it’s Tempranillo style teems with intense red fruit and peppery notes with touches of cinnamon notes. Over in Ribera del Duero and Toro which abound with clay soils, the grape makes a deep coloured ferment that drinks of intense black fruit and big tannins.
Gourmet WiseTempranillo is a delectably food friendly wine given its classical balance of hearty ripe fruit and spicy tones, bright acidity and firm tannins. Anything from grilled vegetables and meats to Tex Mex fare like burritos and tacos and comfort favourites including pizzas and pastas. The Spanish themselves love pairing their Tempranillo with an assortment of tapas (small plates) of cured meats and veggies. So the wine’s alluring balance of fruity and savoury notes gives you a wide berth, pairing nicely with Indian food too. Tempranillo’s juicy acidity can slice through the spice barrier of curries and gravies with ample weight to match their richness.
Discover and share our finest Tempranillo wines from Bodesas Roda, Bodegas Mauro and Bodegas Maurodos.