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Tempranillo is Spain’s most prized black grape variety and is a key component of many of the country’s most famous red wines. It’s also grown in Portugal, where it’s called Tinta Roriz, and is a major blending grape used in Port. Outside of Spain and Portugal, Tempranillo is hard to find, but it is planted sparsely in Argentina, Southern France, Australia, the United States and Mexico.
Wines made from Tempranillo typically have red and black fruit flavours (strawberry, cherry, blackberry, plum) and can range from simple and fruity to complex and age-worthy. Well-crafted Tempranillo can age for two or more decades.
It’s traditional to mature Tempranillo wines in new-oak, imparting flavours of vanilla, smoke and cedar. It is also common for winemakers to age their wines in-bottle before release. Excellent examples can develop flavours of mushroom, leather and dried fruit.
The most well-known Tempranillo-based wines come from the region of Rioja, north-east Spain, and further inland in the mountainous Ribera del Duero region.