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Tempranillo

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

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins and a bright acidity, Tempranillo 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.

Tasting Notes for Tempranillo

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.

Perfect Food Pairings for Tempranillo

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

Sommelier Secrets for Tempranillo

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 Vega Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial (1991 release - stained label)
    Tempranillo from Spain
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    • RP95
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  • Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial Front Label
    Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial
    Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
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    • W&S96
    • RP95
    • WS95
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  • Castillo del Ciego Rioja Red  Front Label
    Castillo del Ciego Rioja Red
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • Castillo San Simon Tempranillo  Front Label
      Castillo San Simon Tempranillo
      Tempranillo from Spain
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      • Vinos Torremoron Ribera del Duero Tiberio Joven Front Label
        Vinos Torremoron Ribera del Duero Tiberio Joven
        Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
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        • Solnia Tempranillo  Front Label
          Solnia Tempranillo
          Tempranillo from Spain
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