Tempranillo is the number one red grape in Spain, making up the base of wines from some of the most prestigious Spanish appellations such as the DOC Rioja, the DO Ribera del Duero, and the DO Toro.
Cultivated in almost all the winemaking areas of Spain thanks to the fact that it ages excellently in oak, taking on spicy and roasted aromas, the Tempranillo displays a different local character depending on the conditions of each terroir. For example, its elegance shines through in Rioja, while in Ribera del Duero, it is known for its intense maturity, and in Toro, for its powerful wines. Having said that, despite all its qualities, the Tempranillo variety has not been planted so extensively outside of Spain. There are plantations in the south of France, Australia, Argentina, and, of course, in Portugal where it is known as Aragonez or Tinta Roriz and is used in the blends of well-known Port wines.
Tempranillo wines have good color, low acidity, measured tannins, and a healthy dose of fruit. Both young wines and long-aged wines alike are extremely enticing and combine the elegance of a Pinot Noir with the fine tannicity of a Cabernet Franc. They have a silky texture and a nose embellished with aromas of wild red fruits when drunk during their first few years. As they age, aromas of cherries, tobacco, or even figs in wines produced in warmer climes appear. The wooden barrel staves give it spicy and roasted aromas that fit in with the personality of the Tempranillo. Tertiary aromas such as vanilla, pepper, and coffee appear naturally and are inextricably linked to Tempranillo Crianza wines.