The Martinez Bujanda family, producers of Valdemar wines, founded their original winery in 1889. They own 820 acres of vineyards, which makes Valdemar one of the largest estates in the Rioja. A new winery was built in 1984 to take advantage of modern technologies, integrating both new and time-honored traditions of winemaking.
Learn More About Tempranillo
Grape that Reigns in Spain
Most often associated with Spain,
is the backbone of wines made in the well-known Spanish regions
del Duero. On the scale of light to heavy, Tempranillo lands towards the light
side. It tends to be higher in acid and lower in alcohol - common for Old World
wines - and perfect for matching to food.
As a flavor profile, red fruits like strawberries and cherries are backed by a rustic edge. Tempranillo takes well to oak, and many Spanish wines from thsi grape will spend a few
years in barrel and bottle before reaching the consumer. Spanish wine laws are very specific about
ageing wine, both in barrel and bottle. Many Tempranillo-based wines see a few years of oak - add
that to a few years of bottle and the wine can give a subtle - and occasionaly not-so-subtle - leathery mouthfeel.
The combination of the tart fruit and tannins make this wine very food friendly. Additionally, Tempranillo blends well with Garnacha, a match particularly popular in Ribera del Duero. Some winemakers in Australia are also experimenting (quite successfully as we've tasted) with Tempranillo plantings, as are those in California and other New World regions.
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Spain; Rioja and Ribera del Duero, Australia
red fruit, cherry, plum, tobacco, leather, herb
Learn More About Rioja, Spain
This highly regarded area of Spain makes some of the best Tempranillo-based wines in the world. Once the only DOCa (recently joined by Priorat in 2001), Rioja is divided into 3 sub-regions: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa. There are 4 red varieties and 3 white varieties allowed in the Rioja DOC. Tempranillo definitely takes center stage, followed by Garnacha (Grenache)), which is sometimes added for body, then Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan). The region also makes roses. For whites, the main grape is Viura (or Macebo), producing fresh, early-drinking wines. Malvasia, the grape that was once the most planted white, is found less often.
The Rioja wine trade is somewhat confusing. Grapes are typically brought to a merchant's bodega from one of the 20,000+ growers in the region, or via a cooperative. The wine is then bottled and labelled by that bodega. Rioja's Consejo Regulador keeps track of all vineyards and bodegas to make sure they are following the DOCa regulations. Put in place to ensure quality, the system also controls prices.
As with the rest of Spain, the wine label may state Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, depending on barrel & bottle maturation. Crianzas are usually found within two years of the vintage and offer fresh, ripe wines. Reserva and Gran Reserva will be found a few years after the vintage, as the bodega will be aging the wines in barrel and bottle before release. Both typically show more secondary characteristics of spice and oak ageing.