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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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  • Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva 1997 Front Label
    Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva 1997
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • Berberana Vina Alarde Rioja Reserva 1997 Front Label
      Berberana Vina Alarde Rioja Reserva 1997
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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      • Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Reserva 1997
        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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        • La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto 1997 Front Label
          La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto 1997
          Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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          • Enate Los Faunos Tempranillo 1997
            Tempranillo from Spain
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            • Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza (half-bottle) 1997
              Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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              • Familia Torres Coronas Tempranillo 1997 Front Label
                Familia Torres Coronas Tempranillo 1997
                Tempranillo from Spain
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                • Marques de Arienzo Crianza 1997
                  Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                  • La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva Tinto (half-bottle) 1997
                    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                    • Bodegas Montecillo Crianza Tinto 1997 Front Label
                      Bodegas Montecillo Crianza Tinto 1997
                      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                      • Campo Viejo Gran Reserva 1997 Front Label
                        Campo Viejo Gran Reserva 1997
                        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                        • Bodegas Montecillo Gran Reserva 1997 Front Label
                          Bodegas Montecillo Gran Reserva 1997
                          Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                          • Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Reserva 1997 Front Label
                            Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Reserva 1997
                            Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                            • Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza 1997
                              Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                              • El Coto Coto de Imaz Reserva 1997
                                Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                                • Bodegas Palacio Rioja Cosme Palacio y Hermanos 1997 Front Label
                                  Bodegas Palacio Rioja Cosme Palacio y Hermanos 1997
                                  Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
                                  • WS86
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                                • Artadi Vinas de Gain 1997
                                  Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                                • Marques de Grinon Alea Crianza 1997
                                  Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                                  • Lorinon Tinto Crianza Reserva 1997
                                    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                                    • La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva Tinto 1997
                                      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                                      • Faustino Crianza 1997
                                        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                                        • Marques de Arienzo Reserva 1997
                                          Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                                          • Quinta do Crasto Tinta Roriz 1997
                                            Tempranillo from Portugal
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                                            • Abadia Retuerta Seleccion Especial 1997
                                              Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
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                                              • Bodegas Roda Roda I Rioja Reserva 1997
                                                Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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