If you are a fan of Spanish viniculture than you must’ve heard about dominant grape of red Rioja. The word Tempranillo comes from the Spanish word temprano which means “early “ because it ripens earlier than other grapes that are grown in Spain. Tempranillo has been grown on the Iberian Peninsula since the time of Phoenician settlements. It is the main grape used in Rioja and it is often referred to as Spain’s noble grape.
Tempranillo brings flavors and aromas such as berries, plus, tobacco and vanilla. Age has a great impact on Tempranillo flavor – younger wines have much fruity flavor while Reserva and Grand Reserva wines express much deeper notes. Tempranillo range from having little oak to 18 to 24 months of oak aging, plus four years of bottle aging.
Tempranillo can go by many different names depending on the region. Most famous Tempranillo region in definitely Rioja. Rioja as well as Navarra regions are perhaps the most popular and their wines are known for their cherry and cinnamon notes. Ribiera del Duero, Toro, Cigales typically have much darker and deeper flavors. Even though La Mancha and Ribiera Del Guadiana are not popular worldwide, they offer fantastic Tempranillo wines.
Wine and Food Pairing
The age is Tempranillo determines the best food pairing. For younger Tempranillo wines, that have less complex taste its best to go with light and no so complicated meals such as chicken wings, turkey sausage, bacon, ham and beef burritos.
For Reserva and Grand Reserva Tempranillo wines chose more complex meals that can compete with deeper, darker fruit notes.