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Tempranillo Wine

Learn about Tempranillo — taste profile, popular regions and more ...

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Tempranillo is Spain’s premier and most planted grape variety, accounting for around 20% of all Spanish plantings. Tempranillo translates to “a bit early” in Spanish and its name refers to the grape’s growing cycle, since it both buds and ripens early. Tempranillo is the base of many of Spain’s iconic wines and it is highly regarded by winemakers because of its tremendous versatility and adaptability. Tempranillo wine is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions and important throughout most of Spain. Depending on location, it takes on a few synonyms; in Penedès, it is known as Ull de Llebre and in Valdepeñas, goes by Cencibel. Furthermore, in Portugal, known as Tinta Roriz, it is a key component both in Port wines and the dry red wines of the Douro. The New World regions of California, Washington and Oregon have all had success with Tempranillo, producing a ripe, amicable and fruit-dominant style of red.

Tempranillo Tasting Notes

Tempranillo is a dry, red wine and produces medium-weight reds with strawberry and black fruit characteristics. Depending on growing conditions and winemaking, it can produce hints of spice, toast, leather, tobacco, herb or vanilla. Tempranillo is extremely sensitive to both its growing environment and to winemaking techniques, which makes it difficult to list the most representative aroma descriptors.

Tempranillo Food Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained soft tannins and good acidity make it extremely food friendly. Tempranillo wine can be paired with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew or paella. Tempranillo also pairs well with traditional dishes from Castile and León (Castilla y León) like roasted lamb or sucking pig (lechazo and cochinillo respectively) or pork chops Sarmiento style (chuletillas al sarmiento). The young wines, in which Tempranillo dominates, offer bright red fruit and licorice flavors that are a good match for the many vegetable dishes that La Rioja de Navarra has to offer.

Sommelier Secrets for Tempranillo Wine

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a naming system is in place to indicate how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release. Rioja labeled Joven (a fresh and fruity style) spends a year or less in oak, whereas Gran Reserva (complex and age-worthy) must be matured for a minimum of two years in oak and three years in bottle before release. Requirements on Crianza and Reserva fall in between.

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  • Marques de Murrieta Premium Bag with Two Bottles of 2016 Rioja Reserva 2016  Gift Product Image
    Marques de Murrieta Premium Bag with Two Bottles of Rioja Reserva 2016
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • RP94
    • JS94
    • W&S93
    • V93
    • WS91
    4.2 34 Ratings
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    Currently Unavailable $54.99
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    65
    54 99
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  • La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Rioja Gran Reserva 2014  Front Label
    La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Rioja Gran Reserva 2014
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS96
    • D96
    • RP90
    3.9 78 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $41.99
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    46
    41 99
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  • CVNE Vina Real Crianza 2017  Front Label
    CVNE Vina Real Crianza 2017
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS93
    • WE91
    • RP91
    • V90
    3.7 310 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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    17
    14 99
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  • Contino Rioja Reserva 2016  Front Label
    Contino Rioja Reserva 2016
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS97
    • RP94
    • W&S93
    • WE93
    • WS92
    4.0 35 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $45.99
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    45 99
    45 99
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  • La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva Tinto 2016  Front Label
    La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva Tinto 2016
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • V92
    4.0 220 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $24.99
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    24 99
    24 99
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  • Hidalgo Tradicion H Gran Reserva 2012  Front Label
    Hidalgo Tradicion H Gran Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • WE93
    3.9 242 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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    45
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  • Bodegas Valderiz Ribera del Duero 2018  Front Label
    Bodegas Valderiz Ribera del Duero 2018
    Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
    • WS95
    • JS93
    3.9 77 Ratings
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    Currently Unavailable $35.99
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    40
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  • CVNE Crianza 2017  Front Label
    CVNE Crianza 2017
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS93
    • W&S92
    • WS91
    3.9 234 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $13.99
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    15
    13 99
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  • La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2015  Front Label
    La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2015
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS96
    • D93
    • WS91
    4.2 35 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $42.99
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    42 99
    42 99
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  • Bodegas Lan Rioja Crianza 2018  Front Label
    Bodegas Lan Rioja Crianza 2018
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • WW91
    4.7 22 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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    14 99
    14 99
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  • Benjamin Romeo Contador 2019  Front Label
    Benjamin Romeo Contador 2019
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
      0.0 0 Ratings
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      Currently Unavailable $469.99
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      469 99
      469 99
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    • Bodegas Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5 2016  Front Label
      Bodegas Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5 2016
      Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
      • W&S96
      • RP96
      • JS95
      • WS94
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $219.99
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      219 99
      219 99
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    • Numanthia Toro 2016  Front Label
      Numanthia Toro 2016
      Tempranillo from Toro, Spain
      • JS95
      • WS93
      0.0 0 Ratings
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      Currently Unavailable $68.99
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      68 99
      68 99
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    • Matsu El Picaro 2020  Front Label
      Matsu El Picaro 2020
      Tempranillo from Toro, Spain
      • WW90
      4.3 62 Ratings
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      Currently Unavailable $15.99
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      15 99
      15 99
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    • Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva 2017  Front Label
      Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva 2017
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
      • JS93
      0.0 0 Ratings
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      Currently Unavailable $17.99
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      17 99
      17 99
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    • Pago de Carraovejas Ribera del Duero 2019  Front Label
      Pago de Carraovejas Ribera del Duero 2019
      Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
      • JS91
      0.0 0 Ratings
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      Currently Unavailable $56.99
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      56 99
      56 99
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    • Dominio de Eguren Protocolo Tinto 2019  Front Label
      Dominio de Eguren Protocolo Tinto 2019
      Tempranillo from Spain
      • WW88
      3.4 23 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $8.99
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      8 99
      8 99
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    • Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza 2017  Front Label
      Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza 2017
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
      • JS92
      3.7 285 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $12.99
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      20
      12 99
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    • Bodegas Ramon Bilbao Limited Edition Rioja 2016  Front Label
      Bodegas Ramon Bilbao Limited Edition Rioja 2016
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
        4.5 25 Ratings
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        Currently Unavailable $22.99
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        22 99
        22 99
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      • Bodegas Luis Canas Reserva 2015  Front Label
        Bodegas Luis Canas Reserva 2015
        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
          0.0 0 Ratings
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          Currently Unavailable $39.99
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          39 99
          39 99
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        • R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2008  Front Label
          R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2008
          Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
          • JS95
          • RP95
          • D92
          • W&S91
          4.2 114 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $56.99
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          56 99
          56 99
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        • Protos '27 2018  Front Label
          Protos '27 2018
          Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
          • JS91
          • WS90
          • WE90
          4.8 26 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $34.99
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          34 99
          34 99
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        • La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2011  Front Label
          La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2011
          Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
          • JS96
          • WW94
          • D94
          • RP94
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $165.99
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          165 99
          165 99
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        • Bodegas Beronia Rioja Reserva 2017  Front Label
          Bodegas Beronia Rioja Reserva 2017
          Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
          • JS92
          0.0 0 Ratings
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          Currently Unavailable $23.99
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          23 99
          23 99
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        • Protos Tinto Fino 2019  Front Label
          Protos Tinto Fino 2019
          Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
          • JS91
          4.3 59 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $15.99
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          15 99
          15 99
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