What To Drink Now: Tempranillo

Raise a glass to Spain's favorite variety.

Tempranilo Day
Juicy and luscious, fragrant and elegant, robust and intense, each set are adjectives to describe one of Spain’s  favorite varieties. Lucky for us, it also happens to be a favorite right here in Texas.  Today is National Tempranillo Day, and in honor of this special day here are a few selections of the grape to keep an eye out for. A few were sent for editorial consideration.

Pedernales Cellars has built a solid reputation for themselves on their production of high quality, varietally correct Tempranillo grown in Texas High Plains and Hill Country vineyards. Their Pedernales Reserve Tempranillo combines fruit from both AVAs to create a balanced wine filled with dark cherry, dried plum, with a hint of toasted nuttiness on the finish. Rich and balanced, perfect for serving with grilled meat and game. $30 at Wine Poste.

Staying in Texas, Brennan Vineyards recently released their first vintage of Tempranillo from High Plains vineyards. Big and bold, with earthy notes of leather, dark fruit and spice with robust tannins that will soften as the wine ages a bit. The 2012 is available now via their website for $26. If you want to enjoy now without aging, just open the bottle a few hours before enjoying.

The West Coast also does well with Tempranillo, growing distinct versions of the variety in warm climates like Southern Oregon and inland California. Abacela, in the Umpqua Valley of Southern Oregon, set out early on to create the highest quality Tempranillo in America, deciding that the hot climate and complex, volcanic soils found at their Rosenberg estate was the perfect spot to grow Spain’s favorite grape. Today, after 14 vintages released of the variety, owners Earl and Hilda Jones continue with that confidence, creating a wine filled with layers of dark cherry, blackberry, spice, cocoa and earthiness. A delicious and satisfying wine that begs to be enjoyed with roasted or braised meat. $35 via their website.

The Dunnigan Hills AVA may not be as well known as some in California, but that doesn’t stop the AVA in California’s Central Valley with a warm, Mediterranean style climate, from growing character filled wines. Matchbook Winery, in the heart of Dunnigan Hills, does just this, especially with their bold, fruit filled Tempranillo. Created from vines grown from cuttings brought from the Pesquera region of Spain, in Ribera del Duero, Matchbook Tempranillo leaps from the glass with aromas of black cherry, licorice, dark chocolate and spice, enhanced with just a touch of Graciano, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to round out the wine. $15 via their website.

Winemaker Gloria Collel recently introduced her first line of wines in partnership Freixenet, one of Spain’s largest Cava producers, with the goal to create fresh, lively and fun wines for easy enjoyment. Her Mia Wines do just that, with the Mia Red being a fruity version of the Tempranillo grape.  Made without oak, the wine is filled with floral notes of purple violets, blue and blackberry. Bonus, the wines are also quite affordable, about $10 a bottle, available at Spec’s.

Vina Pomal 2010 Reserva from Bodegas Bilbainas shows the quality that wines from Rioja can have. Rich and robust the 18 month oak aged, and two year bottle aged Rioja is nicely balanced, mingling floral notes with ripe red berry and dried plum and espresso notes. Elegant and approachable, especially when paired with hearty cuisine, a perfect wine for the holidays. Available here for $20 a bottle.

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Comments

  • Dean

    Another good Texas Tempranillo — try Kiepersol in Tyler.