Billed as Spain’s most important red wine grape and hailing from many pockets throughout the country, Tempranillo has been made world famous by the region of Rioja where the traditional practice of classifying wines by the length of time they are aged in oak is employed. Crafted with a structure designed for ageing, Spanish Tempranillos can often be cellared for two decades and well beyond under the right conditions.
Tempranillo is thought to have been brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Phoenicians who are credited with passing on their knowledge of viticulture and wine making practices throughout the Mediteranean Basin.
Also known as Ull de Llebre, Tinta del Pais, Tinta de Toro, Cencibel, Aragonéz, and Tinta Roriz, Tempranillo is widely planted and has its roots in the prestigious vineyards of Rioja and Ribera del Duero in Spain as well as Port in Portugal. As Tempranillo’s popularity continues to grow it can be found in flourishing appelations around the world, including small lots in Argentina, Australia, Southern France, United States, and Baja California Mexico.
Tempranillo’s name (“Temprano” means “early” in Spanish) implies that this delicate varietal needs to be harvested before the other grapes and requires more of the grower’s attention which contributes directly to its scarcity. Wherever it pops up, top tiered Tempranillo vines flourish in warm sun soaked climates situated in slightly elevated and protected valleys.
Below are a few Tempranillo wines we love and are excited to highlight for you:
Sea Shell Cellars 2018 Estate “Balboa” Reserve 100% Tempranillo Paso Robles AVA, CA - The Tempranilllo used in this lot was grown on the highest terrace of the estate, an elevated, flat acre of land that shows the most decomposed limestone on the property and has the perfect exposure for ripening this variety. The wine was aged for 20 months in 30% New French Oak 30%. The 2018 Balboa Tempranillo offers blueberry, black cherry, dried earth, along with cedar spiced aromas and flavors. Medium bodied with rich ripe tannins, terrific balance, and outstanding length, it's an impressive expression of this variety that should age gracefully.
Monestario de las Vinas 2019 “Joven” 40% Tempranillo + 60% Garnacha Carinena DOP, SP - This young wine comes from the 500m elevated 25 year old stony soiled vineyard situated in Aguarón and made in a winery built by the Cistercian monks in the 11th century. It is aged in Stainless Steel and shows a soft purple color, marked with aromas of violets and blueberries and presents a juicy and rich mouth feel full of dark berries and baking spice.
Santos Brujos 2016 100% Tempranillo Valle de Guadalupe, MX - From the very beginning, even before there was a thought of launching a formal winery, the commitment was made to farm the Viñas del Sol Vineyard, 100% organic & biodynamic. Today, the Viñas del Sol Vineyard of Santos Brujos is still the only certified organic and biodynamic vineyard in all of Mexico. Red to purple with a bright clean edge, the wine presents aromas of forest berries and blueberries coupled with rose petals, coffee, spice, and exotic woods. Medium-bodied with round tannins and structured acidity. Aged 12 months in Neutral Oak 80% French & 20% American.
This summer, expand your mind and your palette, as you explore Tempranillo wines and get transported to the lands of famous Spanish surrealist and notorious wino, Salvador Dali who reminds us that “The connoisseur does not drink wine but tastes its secrets.” - SULUD!!!