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Tempranillo

Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and crisp acidity...

Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and refreshing acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. It is important throughout Spain as well as in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz and is an important component of Port wines and the table wines of the Douro region that Port calls home. California, Washington, and Oregon have all had moderate success with Tempranillo, producing a riper, more fruit-forward style of wine.

In the Glass

Tempranillo is often aged in new oak for the integration of spicy, woodsy, and herbal flavors, often with hints of vanilla, coconut, and dill. The grape itself produces medium-weight reds with bright red and black fruit aromas and hints of spice, leather, and tobacco, with no shortage of flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity make it extremely food friendly, pairing with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew, or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a system is in place to indicate on the label how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release, which is helpful to the consumer trying to determine the style of an unfamiliar wine. Rioja can range from Joven (fresh, fruity, and unoaked) to Gran Reserva (complex and oxidized from extended barrel aging), with Crianza and Reserva in between.

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  • Abacela Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
    Tempranillo from Umpqua Valley, Oregon
    • WE91
    Currently Unavailable $22.99
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  • Abacela Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
    Tempranillo from Umpqua Valley, Oregon
      Currently Unavailable $20.99
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    • Abacela Barrel Select Estate Tempranillo 2012
      Tempranillo from Umpqua Valley, Oregon
        Currently Unavailable $36.99
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