It’s International Tempranillo Day!
I love, love, love Tempranillo, but I wasn’t always such a vocal supporter of the grape.
True story: Many moons ago, I was 🎶suuuuuuuuuuuuper in loooo—ooooove🎶 with this guy, whom I was pretty sure, even at the time, wanted nothing to do with me. But being the tenacious go-getter (read: lovestruck dummy) that I was, I was going to goad this guy into any type of conversation I could. So, we started talking wine.
He declared that his favorite varietal was Tempranillo (being where he was from and his background, I figured that he worked in a Spanish restaurant at some point in his life, a detail I cannot corroborate at this time). Cue me buying Tempranillo by the bucketload and drinking tons of it.*
*Not all at one time, natch.
I got to be pretty knowledgeable about the grape, and jerkface-guy-who-didn’t-want-to-date-me notwithstanding, Tempranillo is now one of my favorite grapes.
Now, when most people think of Spanish wine, they think of Rioja. Like Champagne or Chianti, Rioja is a region, not a grape or an exact blend. Red Rioja wine is usually a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, with a bit of Graciano, and Mazuelo optional.
But Tempranillo, like, say, Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, is a varietal, or type, of grape.
- It is Rioja’s most widely grown grape, with 81 percent of the total planted acreage dedicated to it.
- Tempranillo, often referred to as “Spain’s noble grape”, is usually aged for several years in oak barrels before serving.
- With three sub-climates within Rioja, the grape can produce a variety of flavors depending on where in the region it is planted, ranging from light to deep and full-bodied. Campo Viejo grows and harvests the grapes in all three sub-climates to create a true taste of Rioja.
- A mutation can occur in the red grape, resulting in a white Tempranillo. Campo Viejo’s winemaker, Elena Adell, was one of the first to know about the existence of this varietal. She is a pioneer creating several trials with the white Tempranillo to gain a deeper knowledge.
While all that is cool, I hear you asking:
What food pairs with Tempranillo?
Well, like most Spanish wines, Tempranillo is SUPER food friendly! Campo Viejo Tempranillo has tons of fruit on the nose with vanilla flavors, too. Tempranillo is also not super tannic, so it’s soft on the palate and isn’t one of those terrible “puts hair on your chest” wines (you know what I mean).
Tempranillo tastes great with tomato-based dishes. Think pizza and pasta, but also a lasagna or even enchiladas.
Tempranillo also tastes great with roasted veggies and cured meats, so it could also pair decently with a Thanksgiving or holiday meal.
How much does Tempranillo cost?
Oh, that’s the other lovely secret of Spanish wine. It’s typically not crazy expensive! Campo Viejo Rioja can typically be found for $10-13.
Now that makes a Happy International Tempranillo Day indeed!
Featured image courtesy Campo Viejo