Australian Tempranillo wine regional and flavour profile
RED | MEDIUM BODIED
Tastes and aromas
Flavours of cherry, raspberry, mulberry and dried herbs, with aromas of leather and blackberries
Low acidity and tannins, medium bodied, rarely high in alcohol
Drink now or later
Tempranillo can either be consumed young or after several years of barrel aging
- Spain’s Premier variety
- In Australia, Tempranillo is growing in popularity more rapidly than any other variety.
- The grape gets its name from the word “temprano” which means “early” in Spanish. The grapes ripen about two weeks earlier than other grapes in Spain, which is a big bonus for wine makers.
- There are about 552 clones of Tempranillo in Spain and at least 50 of those names appear regularly on wine labels.
- In Portugal, it is blended with others to produce port wine.
- Tempranillo grows best at higher altitudes and therefore cool climates, however can also grown well in warm climates.
- With regard to Tempranillo’s production in various climates, wine expert Oz Clarke notes: “To get elegance and acidity out of Tempranillo, you need a cool climate. But to get high sugar levels and the thick skins that give deep colour you need heat. In Spain these two opposites are best reconciled in the continental climate but high altitude of the Ribera del Duero.”
- Being low in both acidity and sugar content, it is most commonly blended with Grenache, Carignan, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Australian regions producing the variety include Canberra, Southern Highlands of NSW, Rutherglen, Orange, Mudgee, and the Granite Belt in QLD.
Tempranillo has been grown on the Iberian Peninsula since the time of Phoenician settlements. It is the main grape used in Rioja, and is often referred to as Spain’s noble grape. The grape has been planted in Mexico, New Zealand, South America, California, USA, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Turkey and Canada.
Tempranillo is a very versatile food-wine, and pairs with a number of dishes. Gamey dishes pair well with the liveliness of the Tempranillo, as do egg dishes (if it is a young Tempranilllo). As with most reds, red meats such as steak are a good accompaniment, and for the fuller bodied Tempranillo, the richness of a barbeque sauce can be the perfect match.