Ruby color, aromas of berries, plum and grass, fruity taste, these are the identifying features of the wines that are made with Tempranillo. One of the main grape varieties of Spain, of which quality wines are produced. Balanced and aromatic, and with an average acid and alcohol content.
It is a red grape with a thick skin that grows best at higher altitudes, but it also tolerates well moderate temperatures. Wines produced with Tempranillo can be drunken young, but the more expensive wines usual age for several years in oak barrels, and so one of the best wines in the world arise.
It has many names: Ull de Lebre in Catalonia, Valdepeñas on the other side of the Atlantic, Red grape of the country in the area of the Duero, Cencibel in La Mancha, Toro Grape in Zamora … and Tempranillo in Rioja, where this grape has emerged and has gained international fame. Tempranillo is the most well-known name for this grape, and this name comes from the Spanish word “temprano” (early), because this grape ripens a few weeks earlier than most other grapes cultured in Spain.
It arose from two varieties: Albillo Mayor and Benedicto (from the center of the Iberian Peninsula), and it is used primarily in so fabulous wines such as Rioja or Ribera del Duero, these wines are made between 90 and 100% of this grape variety. It is also grown in the region of Penedès, Navarra or Valdepeñas. Depending on whether it is accompanied by another grape variety, it may have different effects.
The best Tempranillo wines are produced in areas with high solar radiation and with very cold night temperatures. With these climatic conditions high alcohol levels and good acidity are reached, and thus high-quality wines.
We present you three wines with Tempranillo, but very different due to their origin:
Numanthia 2006 from the Bodega Numanthia-Termes. From the Designation of Origin Toro in Zamora. We consider the Tinta de Toro as a Tempranillo grape variety, which has adapted to this area around Zamora. The wines with Tinta de Toro are characterized by the fact that they are very intense, structured and balanced. Numanthia 2006 is a Crianza, which comes from an unique soil, its vineyards cope with extreme climatic conditions and very dry seasons. This wine has a very explosive finish.
Vizcarra Senda del Oro 2012: Young red wine with ageing from the Bodega Vizcarra, from the Designation of Origin Ribera del Duero. 100% Tempranillo, 15-year-old vineyards, ages 7 years in new American and French oak barrels. The local name of this grape is “tinto fino”. Provides a very good quality for its price. Cherry red with expressive aroma, fruity on the palate with good acidity and balanced. The Peñín Guide writes: “Cherry red with a purple rim. Powerful aroma, red fruit, balsamic, mineral, expressive. On the palate powerful, tasty, concentrated, fruity”
Ramón Bilbao Crianza 2010: Red wine with ageing from the Bodega Ramón Bilbao, from the Denomination of Origin Rioja. 100% Tempranillo from the Rioja Alta (specifically from the town of Haro) with an ageing of 14 months in American oak barrels and 8 months in the bottle. Color cherry red, very tasty, plenty of character, and with ripe tannins. Good acidity, a long finish and good resistance.
The Tempranillo grape is the grape of Spain par excellence, very characteristic, but not the only one. And if there is something that is treated in this country with particular affection, then these are the vineyards and their wines. But about this we will talk another time.