Tempranillo, with its many different names, originates from Spain and is now very popular across the globe. From affordable easygoing to complex, special occasion worthy, the black grape variety is the third most planted worldwide the major part being in Spain, obviously πŸ˜‰ Embark on a journey to Spanish vineyards!

Tempranillo, also called tinta fina, cencibel, aragonez or tinta roriz (Portugal) among others, can actually be found in many different styles and often in blends. An easygoing version of Tempranillo will show ripe, almost sweet fruity characters of plum, cherry and tomato with lower acidity. A more elegant style will be aged in oak developing aromas of dried fig, leather and tobacco with higher tannins.

The most well known region in Spain for Tempranillo is Rioja, where the wines are made from 90 to 100% of Tempranillo. The grape thrives in warm climate but can beneficiate from altitude to preserve the acidity. The wines from this region can be classified under DOC and have different ageing terms:

  • Joven: rarely aged in oak, young and for early consumption
  • Crianza: 2 years of ageing with at least 1 year in oak
  • Reserva: 3 years of ageing with 1 year in oak followed by 6 months in bottle
  • Gran reserva: 5 years of ageing with 2 in oak followed by 2 months in bottle

Our recommendation Valenciso reserva 2012

We had the chance to taste this wine recently and we we’re both stunned on the first sip. It’s a 100% Tempranillo, aged for 17 month in oak. A rioja as we never tasted before with elegant tannins, silky texture and refined red berry aromas. By decanting the wine, it starts showing maturity with discrete leather and tobacco flavours. A focused wine with beautiful balance between sweet fruits, maturity and linear structure.

Apparently we aren’t the only ones to like this wine, James Suckling awarded it 92 points!

The Rioja wine region might be most famous for its high class tempranillos but it would be reductive not to mention the rest. The grape is planted throughout the Iberian peninsula and appreciated through the world in many different styles. Anyway, tempranillo usually makes everyone happy and offers a good compromise for all palates!

To my beloved Tempranillo,

Cheers 🍷

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