Tem-prah-NEE-yoh: Tempranillo went from being the world’s 24th most-planted grape in 1990 to fourth position in 2010 – Jancis Robinson
Five Great New World Reasons to Celebrate the Old World Varietal:
- It’s a global grape: Although Tempranillo originated in Rioja region of Spain, the popularity of this rich red varietal has inspired grape growers to produce their own stunning versions of this varietal throughout the major wine regions of the world – including the United States, New Zealand, South Africa and France. The black thick-skinned grape is also being grown in the burgeoning wine areas of Argentina, Chile and Mexico. We certainly love it’s cultured expression from Rioja, but new world versions can showcase it’s flashier fruit profile.
- It expresses it’s terroir: Tempranillo is a tenacious and hardy varietal that reflects the taste andcharacter of the terroir where it’s grown. Rioja reflects the rugged yet beautiful contours of the North Eastern corner of Spain, while Tempranillos hailing from Santa Barbara, Lodi or Paso
Robles showcase the more vivacious fruit we associate with a uniquely “California” style of wine-growing. Fascinating versions grown in the Hill Country of Texas, bring their own unique terroir to the palate, as do versions from Southern Oregon’s Umpqua and Rogue Valleys. We recommend that you give them a try side by side to get a sense of how varied the flavor profiles of Tempranillo can be, based on where it was grown.
- It’s reasonably priced: The most storied and highest quality Riojas can be of course, a bit spendy, but equally, there are quality wines to be found at bargain prices– Javier San Pedro Randez Crianza Tempranillo – $6.99 at Trader Joes! Or try one grown closer to home, the California version: 2007 Quinta Cruz, Pierce Ranch Tempranillo $18 (grown in San Antonio Valley, in Monterey County)
- It can stand up to wide variety of foods: Tempranillo and a vast variety of tapas is a classic pairing, as is enjoying a glass with the saffron-infused goodness of a Paella. The moderate acids and umami laden mid-palate of Tempranillo can also pair well with asian foods so don’t be afraid to experiment. Or how about this pairing of wines with local cuisine taken to a new level: discover Texas BBQ and Tempranillo with a bottle Times Ten Cellars, Cathedral Mountain Vineyard, Tempranillo, 2012 $19.
- It’s all in the oak: Classically, Tempranillo is aged for extended periods in American or French oak where the wine takes on the flavor of the barrel. The oak and vanilla character often imparted by barrel aging is a distinctive part of it’s flavor and punches up the varietal flavor characteristics of plum, black cherries and anise with a distinct and beautiful spicy edge.
One last thing to know: November 10th is International Tempranillo day! Crack a bottle and enjoy: it’s time for Tapas and Tempranillo.
For a list of Tempranillo events, visit www.internationaltempranilloday.com
Join in on a nationwide conversation today for a special Twitter chat to celebrate International Tempranillo Day from 7 to 8 p.m. CST #txwine Twitter hashtag or share your thoughts here at our BinWise blog!
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