The Tempranillo grape is the darling of Spain’s wine world, producing some of its most delicious and sought-after red wines. Held by some to be related to French Burgundy’s Pinot Noir grape, brought to Spain by pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela, Tempranillo is most acclaimed in northern Spanish wine regions like Ribera del Dueroor Rioja, where the magic combination of warm climate and high altitude vineyards produces wines melding richness and finesse. Widely planted across Spain, Tempranillo is important in Portugal too, particularly in the Douro Valley where, under the pseudonym Tinta Roriz, it is a key grape in red port. Quite the international jetsetter today, Tempranillo is planted as far afield as Argentina and New Zealand. Often blended with Spain’s other much-loved grape Garnacha (Grenache), Tempranillo is typified by its succulent raspberry fruit flavours and velvety textures.
Photo: Tempranillo grape from Benjamin Romeo, Rioja