Tempranillo is Spain's best-known grape variety and is most famously found in Rioja. It's widely planted in Argentina and increasingly popular in Australia. In Portugal, where it's known as Tinto Roriz, it contributes to the complex blend of Port grapes.
The name is derived from the Spanish word temprano, meaning 'early' (for its tendency to ripen before other grapes). Thick-skinned Tempranillo grows well in a warm climate producing deeply-colored, wines with strawberry, toffee and spice flavors. It partners the clove and vanilla scents of new oak exceptionally well and is often barrel-aged, the best examples two or more years.
Deeply colored with strawberry, toffee and spice flavors
Wines to Try
Pagos de Tahola, Baón de Barbón, Vega Sicilia
Rioja, La Mancha, Ribera del Duero, Douro, Mendoza
Cencibel, Tinto Fino, Tinto del Pais, Tinta Roriz, Aragonés
- Experiments have been underway in Rioja for years, blending Cabernet Sauvignon with Tempranillo to raise standards even higher. The days of Super-Rioja may be just around the corner.
- Tempranillo is known by different names depending on which region of Spain you're in. You may see it described as Tinto Fino and Cencibel.
- If you like Tempranillo, you might also like: Garnacha - especially from Navarra where it is even more highly prized than Tempranillo.