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Tempranillo

Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and bright acidity...

Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. It is important throughout Spain as well as in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz and is an important component of Port wines and the table wines of the Douro region that Port calls home. California, Washington, and Oregon have all had moderate success with Tempranillo, producing a riper, more fruit-forward style of wine.

In the Glass

Tempranillo is often aged in new oak for the integration of spicy, woodsy, and herbal flavors, often with hints of vanilla, coconut, and dill. The grape itself produces medium-weight reds with bright red and black fruit aromas and hints of spice, leather, and tobacco, with no shortage of flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity make it extremely food friendly, pairing with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew, or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a system is in place to indicate on the label how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release, which is helpful to the consumer trying to determine the style of an unfamiliar wine. Rioja can range from Joven (fresh, fruity, and unoaked) to Gran Reserva (complex and oxidized from extended barrel aging), with Crianza and Reserva in between.

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    La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto 2009
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS97
    • RP95
    4.5 11 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $64.99
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    La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2009
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • RP93
    • D91
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    La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Rioja Reserva 2009
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS96
    • RP90
    4.1 38 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $29.99
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    R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2005
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • D96
    • JS94
    • RP93
    • W&S90
    4.3 32 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $42.99
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    Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Tinto 2006
    Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
    • JS100
    • RP98
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    • WE96
    • WS94
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $489.99
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    La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2007
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS97
    • RP95
    • WS93
    4.7 5 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $119.97
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    La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2008
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • D95
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    Currently Unavailable $77.99
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    R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza 2009
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • RP92
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    Faustino I Gran Reserva 2005
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • WS93
    3.9 23 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $32.99
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    Bodegas y Vinedos Pintia 2008
    Tempranillo from Spain
    • RP95
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    R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia Reserva 2006
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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      Marques de Riscal Rioja Gran Reserva 2005
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
      • WE93
      • WW92
      3.7 13 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $44.99
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      CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2009
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
      • JS94
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      • WE92
      4.0 5 Ratings
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      CVNE Contino Reserva 2009
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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      R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2005
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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      Vina Sastre Pago de Santa Cruz Gran Reserva 2009
      Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
      • W&S92
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      Bodegas Muriel Gran Reserva 2006
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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        El Coto Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva 2008
        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
        • WE91
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        Bodegas Ontanon Gran Reserva 2005
        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
        • WS92
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        4.4 11 Ratings
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        Bodegas Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva 2009
        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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        Finca Sobreno Ildefonso Toro 2009
        Tempranillo from Toro, Spain
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        Bodegas Landaluce Capricho de Landaluce 2007
        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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        Arinzano La Casona 2008
        Tempranillo from Spain
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        Conde de Hervias Rioja 2009
        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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        Convento San Francisco Ribera del Duero 2013
        Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
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