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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
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    • WS91
    4.2 46 Ratings
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  • Contino Rioja Reserva 2017  Front Label
    Contino Rioja Reserva 2017
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • Bodegas Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5 2016  Front Label
    Bodegas Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5 2016
    Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
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  • Sierra Cantabria Finca El Bosque 2019  Front Label
    Sierra Cantabria Finca El Bosque 2019
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • JS95
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  • CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2015  Front Label
    CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2015
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS97
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  • Eguren Ugarte Crianza 2018  Front Label
    Eguren Ugarte Crianza 2018
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS92
    • W&S91
    4.1 57 Ratings
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  • Marques de Murrieta Dalmau Tinto Reserva 2016  Front Label
    Marques de Murrieta Dalmau Tinto Reserva 2016
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS95
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    • W&S93
    • WS91
    4.0 10 Ratings
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  • Faustino I Gran Reserva 2010  Front Label
    Faustino I Gran Reserva 2010
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS94
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    • D93
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    4.2 22 Ratings
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  • Eguren Ugarte Cincuenta 2016  Front Label
    Eguren Ugarte Cincuenta 2016
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS93
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    • WW90
    4.0 52 Ratings
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  • Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva 2007 Front Label
    Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva 2007
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • W&S90
    3.8 8 Ratings
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  • El Coto Coto de Imaz Reserva 2016  Front Label
    El Coto Coto de Imaz Reserva 2016
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • JS91
    • WS91
    • W&S91
    4.1 51 Ratings
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  • Portia Triennia 2014  Front Label
    Portia Triennia 2014
    Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
    • W&S92
    • JS92
    • V92
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  • Remelluri La Granja Rioja Gran Reserva 2012  Front Label
    Remelluri La Granja Rioja Gran Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • CVNE Vina Real Gran Reserva 2015  Front Label
    CVNE Vina Real Gran Reserva 2015
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • WS92
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  • Cuentavinas Los Yelsones Rioja 2019  Front Label
    Cuentavinas Los Yelsones Rioja 2019
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • JD93
    • W&S92
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  • Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Tinto 2011  Front Label
    Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Tinto 2011
    Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
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    • RP96
    • WS95
    0.0 0 Ratings
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