What is Tempranillo?

Tempranillo is Spain’s most widely planted and celebrated red grape variety, playing a major role across all quality levels. It is the grape variety behind the wines from Rioja.

What does Tempranillo taste like? 

Tempranillo typically shows flavours of strawberry, tobacco leaf and leather, with a mellow character derived from its moderate acidity and tannin. Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero often shows a more concentrated, rich style than in Rioja. In warmer climates such as Toro the grape can become extremely ripe with blackberry fruit. Oak influence often has a significant impact on style.  

Where is Tempranillo from? 

Tempranillo has a long history in Spain and is thought to have been introduced here by Phoenician settlers in around the 8th century BC.  

Where does Tempranillo grow? 

Tempranillo may be the world’s third most planted grape variety, but the vast majority of this is centred on Spain with neighbour Portugal accounting for much of the rest. Tempranillo thrives in the cooler parts of Rioja, where it accounts for over 75% of total vineyard plantings. It also plays a leading role in many other Spanish regions including Ribera del Duero, Somontano, Penedès and Valdepeñas. In Portugal, where Tempranillo is called Tinta Roriz or Aragonêz, the grape is a major blending component of Port and the most planted red grape in Alentejo. Beyond the Iberian Peninsula,  the only significant volumes of Tempranillo lie in Argentina and Australia. The grape also has a long, if low key, track record in California. 

Famous Tempranillo regions: 

  • Rioja, Spain 
  • Ribera del Duero, Spain 

Anything else?  

Tempranillo takes its name from the Spanish “temprano”, meaning “early”, a reference to the early-ripening characteristic that makes this grape so suitable for cooler parts of its Spanish homeland. 

Our selection of great Tempranillo 

  • López de Heredia, Rioja, Spain 
  • Marqués de Riscal, Rioja, Spain 
  • Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain 
  • Dominio de Pingus, Ribera del Duero, Spain 

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