Tempranillo wine has set the industry ablaze in the last few years. The numbers, the reviews, and even the experts, may come from different sides of the world…but they all tell the same incredible story.
In the last few years Tempranillo wine has taken the world of wines by storm. The fact that it’s easy to drink and goes perfectly with many favorite foods has proven as a winning combination. Perfect reviews coupled with social media coverage made it an instant hit as the demand skyrocketed in the last year or so.
Here we look at its core, what it is, and everything that one would like to know about their favorite wine.
Buckle up, here is how to make the most of every sip.
Flavor characteristics and styles
The Tempranillo wine style is something to be admired as there is plenty to explore. At the same time, its style can differ significantly – much determined by factors such as the region where it is grown, as well as the preferences of the winemaker in growing techniques.
To be more precise, one major factor is to what extent the winemaker uses the influence of oak over the wine – heaving oaking in Spanish Tempranillo is known to bring out specific flavors of cherries and lather.
The best examples of quality Tempranillo have the perfect balance between fruit and earth, enhanced by its smooth finish which is characterized by an unyielding tannin structure. On the other hand Tempranillo wines from non-Spanish wine regions such as the United States, Argentina, and Australia, typically feature fruitier flavors such as blueberries and cherry. In these, the more ‘blocky’ tannins are evident on account of the earthy notes.
Most wine experts categorize Tempranillo as medium or medium to full-bodied, but the weight of the body depends mainly on its tannin profile. Fans of Tempranillo often draw a parallel between the taste and bouquet of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese wine.
Things to consider when looking to Tempranillo Wine
If you have set your mind on buying Spanish Tempranillo, it is best to learn the meaning of the labeling first. There are precisely four legal terms used by Spanish winemakers you can find on any bottle of Spanish wine.
- Vin Jovens means that is released young, recommended to be consumed over a short period, and typically not aged in oak. They can rarely be found outside of Spain.
- It means the wine has aged for two years, with at least six months spent in oak. Unlike Vin Joven, which hasn’t been aged in oak, this really brings out some of the more complex flavors. Why not try a double tasting with a Vin Joven and a Crianza together – see if you can identify the differences?
- The aging period is across a period of three years, with at least one year spent in oak. This added aging time in the oak brings out much richer and well-rounded flavor.
- The creme de la creme. This means the wine had aged for at least five years, with at least 18 months spent in oak to create a truly magnificent flavor. Do not miss up an opportunity to try a quality Gran Reserva Tempranillo, even if at times the price may seem a little off-putting, you will find that both the longer maturation date (five years+) and more specifically the 18 months oaking produce a wonderfully complex wine which is one not to be missed.
Tempranillo wine and food
The Spanish people have truly made an art form of pairing Tempranillo wine with food. The first thing they would recommend with it is Jamon, type of cured and dry ham. If you’ve been to Spain than you have probably noticed there is almost in every bar some ham hanged on a particular rack upfront, just waiting to be carved and served alongside a quality glass of wine.
In addition to Jamon, you may consider other Spanish dishes such as BBQ prawns, roasted lamb, Chorizo sausage, marinated mushrooms, or even tapas to accompany a glass (or few!) of Tempranillo.
Overall, this wine pairs excellently with almost all types of food. You might give it a try with Lasagna, Tacos, Burritos, Polenta, and even with pizza, if you’d prefer Italian, Mexican or Eastern European flavors.