The Tempranillo grape makes the best wines of Spain. Every region in Spain that grows it has its own name for it, usually referring to the color “tinta” meaning red. Tempranillo itself gets its name from the Spanish word, temprano, meaning early because Tempranillo is an earlier ripening grape. 

Tempranillo is one of just a few varieties of wine whose leaves turn bright red in the fall. Rioja by Robert McKintosh 

Tempranillo smells like cherries and berries with earthy notes. The palate is middle of the road tannins, acids, and body. It’s a very versatile wine with lots of dishes and cuisines.

What does Tempranillo Taste like?

Tempranillo can make a few different styles of wine; medium bodied fruity wines and full bodied spicy wines. Generally speaking though Tempranillo has a lot of bright cherry flavors. Winemakers love maturing Tempranillo in oak, especially American oak which brings out coconut and cedar flavors as well. Tempranillo has a lot of acidity and tannins which makes it a great wine with food.

Tempranillo Food Pairing

Tempranillo pairs well with many different types of food. Sommeliers have a saying, if it grows together, it goes together. Since it is the dominant red grape in Spain, Tempranillo is a great match with tapas, cured meats, and linguica. A young fruity Tempranillo pairs nicely with lighter dishes like legumes, or fish in tomato broth. An aged bold Tempranillo is best with grilled meats. Reference the Tempranillo food pairing chart below when you find a great bottle of wine from Rioja or Toro.

Some suggestions:

  • Roasted lamb, grilled lamb, smoked lamb, lamb burgers…
  • Grilled pork chops
  • Vegetarian lasagna
  • Roast beef sandwiches
  • Manchego cheese
  • Pepperoni pizza

Tempranillo is medium to full bodied so needs dishes that are equal to it in weight. Therefore Tempranillo pairs best with heavier dishes like meats and stews.

Tempranillo is fairly acidic. Acid cuts through fat so Tempranillo is a good match with fatty meats like lamb and pork. The acidity in Tempranillo pairs well with tomato based dishes as well.

Tempranillo has medium to high tannins. This means that Tempranillo food pairings should include foods with protein like meat and cheese.

Grab a bottle of Rioja or Ribera del Duero and serve up some food for International Tempranillo Day! It is always celebrated on November 12th.


Source: unravelingwine