Everything You Need to Know About Tempranillo Wine

Parent's & Origin: Tempranillo (Northern Spain)

Grape: Spherical with red, thin skin

Flavors: Cherry, Plum, Fig, Black Pepper, Dill, Tobacco

Notable Regions: Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro, Tierra del Vino de Zamora, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, Douro Valley

Sweetness: Dry

Body: Medium-full

Tannins: Medium

Acidity: Medium

ABV: 13.5–15%

When you are new to the world of wine, it may seem as though the options are infinite. Like any type of wine, the variety of red wine can seem overwhelming, but in reality, the myriad of options provides wine lovers with endless room for exploration!

With all of these delectable wines, there are bound to be some wines that fly under your radar. One wine that we wish to bring to your attention is the Tempranillo red wine.

The History of Tempranillo

Tempranillo originates from the Iberian Peninsula (more specifically, in Spain). Its name is derived from the Spanish word, Temprano––which means “early.” Tempranillo was given this name because it ripens faster than other Spanish red grapes.

It is often associated with the Spanish wine region, Rioja. Due to the terrain and climate, Rioja Tempranillos are higher in acidity and have vivid floral notes.

Another factor that affects Tempranillo is aging. After aging for a considerable amount of time in Rioja, the wine takes on a polished red color and adopts a rich fruitiness. However, if the Tempranillo is aged for longer, then it softens and generates a subtle sweetness.

Rioja Wine Aging

Similar to other Rioja wines, the characteristics of Tempranillo wines are determined by how they’re aged. There are several aging styles that Rioja wineries use.

Let’s cover the four main ones:

  1. Generic (also known as Joven): Generic Rioja wines have no aging requirements. These are sold relatively quickly after their harvest. They have fruity, acidic, and youthful traits.
  2. Crianza: Wines spend a minimum of one year in an oak barrel. As a result, they develop more complexity––such as a fuller body, richer fruit flavors, and stronger tannins.
  3. Reserva: Reserva wines usually spend three years aging––with one year in an oak barrel and six months in a bottle. Due to this longer aging time, the wine develops more tannins and acidity.
  4. Gran Reserva: Red wines are aged for five years (at least two years in barrels and two years in bottles). Gran Reserva wines are, more or less, an advanced form of Reserva wines since their softness and complexity are increased.

Other Uses of Tempranillo Wines

Winemakers will occasionally use the grape to make Rioja wine. The wine has similar acidity, body, tannin, dryness, and ABV levels. As a result, Rioja has cherry, plum, and dill notes.

Tempranillo in Portugal

Tempranillo is also quite popular in Portuguese wine regions. The wine is referred to as Tinta Roriz in northern Portugal and called Aragonez in the wine region, Alentejo.

While Tinta Roriz/Aragonez can be consumed by itself, they are prevalently utilized to make wine blends. In the Douro Valley, Tinta Roriz serves as an ingredient for dry table wines and fortified wines––like Port. Aragonez is mainly reserved for making dry table wines.

Tempranillo Tasting Notes

What makes Tempranillo special to us is the fascinating journey it takes your taste buds on. The wine consists of fruity and earthy tones, such as cherry, plum, fig, black pepper, dill, and tobacco. With its moderate tannins and acidity, this medium to full-bodied wine can act as the perfect companion to any meal.

Tempranillo Food Pairings

Speaking of meals, Tempranillo can be paired with a wide variety of foods. Spanish regional foods that include grilled meats and vegetables are fitting choices. Smoky dishes––like smoked meatloaf, pork, and lamb––work just as well.

Pizza, lasagna, or other tomato dishes can beautifully accompany Tempranillo. Meals that primarily have corn are another excellent choice.

Mexican foods are also a satisfying companion for the wine. Tacos, burritos, and nachos are some of our favorite choices, but feel free to try a different Mexican dish with Tempranillo.

Get to Know Tempranillo Wine

The noble grapes, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, are the main varieties that attract drinkers’ attention around the world. Unfortunately, Tempranillo does not see the same amount of fame outside of Spain and Portugal, but we are working to change that!

This is one of the most amazing wines coming out of Spain. Thanks to its distinct flavors and versatile pairing options, Tempranillo is a great choice for any occasion. If you finally understand this wine’s majesty, then it’s time for you to buy some bottles of it!