Nov 09, 2023Eden Hargreaves

‘Hola desde España’ this grape variety certainly demands a presence in the most welcomed way. The most widely grown varietal in Spain, Tempranillo is a full bodied voluptuous vivacious wine. Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish ‘temprano’ meaning "early", in reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes. Known by multiple names in Spain such as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinto Fino and Tinta del Pais, and by Aragonez or Tinta Roriz in Portugal. 

Even though it is a very aromatic grape, it has a rather neutral profile and is often aged in oak (where it takes on the flavour of the barrel) or blended with other varieties, such as Grenache and Carignan. This thick-skinned black grape is best grown at high altitudes, but can tolerates much warmer climates too. Typical flavours of the Tempranillo grape include those of plum, spice, pepper, cherry, vanilla, raspberries, and strawberries. 

The Fun Facts of Tempranillo

  • Tempranillo is a very old varietal dating back over 3000 years ago when it was believed that the Phoenicians brough the grape to the Peninsula of Spain and Portugal.
  • It is the fourth most planted grape in the world with more than 80% grown in Spain.
  • Often referred to as ‘Spain’s Noble grape’.
  • Because of the vines distinctive jagged and deep-lobed leaves, makes the vine one of the easiest to identify.
  • Traditionally, Spanish wines made from Tempranillo were aged in American oak barrels, which tend to be stronger in flavour than French oak, thus the barrel flavour often overshadowed the grape flavour.




Four legal terms for the aging of Spanish Tempranillo:

  • “Vin Joven” - are not aged in oak and are made to be drunk young and fresh.
  • “Crianza” - have been aged at least 2 years, of which at least six months have been in oak.
  • “Reserva" - the wine has been aged at least 3 years, with at least one of those years in oak.
  • “Gran Reserva” - are those from an exceptional vintage and are aged a minimum of five years, of which at least 18 months have been in oak barrels.

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