This is a high-quality variety found all over Spain, owing to 2 factors: its adaptability to the climate and its tannic structure, which allows it to age longer in the barrel. The general characteristics are a fruity aroma and taste with very smooth tannins. It is excellent in climates with a strong contrast in temperature and a lot of sunshine. It is cultivated in almost all continental Spain and hardly exists near the coasts or in zones with Atlantic rainfall.
Tempranillo is the key variety for most of the important red wines, such as Ribera del Duero, Manchego wines, and good red Catalans. For the wine enthusiast, it may recall the aromas and taste of Pinot Noir from Bourgogne. The theory that this variety crossed into the North of Spain from France with pilgrims is surely based on flavour, and has not been confirmed historically. Whatever the origin, Tempranillo has become the main variety for Spanish reds and has adopted various names throughout the peninsula, including Tinta Roriz in Portugal. It is grown on the banks of the Duero, both for the production of port and table wines.
Rioja wines are the most famous examples of all the Tempranillo wines. The variety is not normally used alone, but is often predominant in the composition of the best Rioja wines. This vine grows especially well in regions with moderate rainfall such as Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. Its early ripening is favoured by areas at higher altitudes with generally cool climates and calcareous soils, such as Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
Tempranillo is a coloured wine with a relatively low acidity, from which good results can be obtained when it is aged in oak barrels. It is not very rich in tannins, but compensates for this when it is mixed with varieties such as Mazuelo, Graziano or Cabernet Sauvignon.
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