Viva Tempranillo! Join the Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society (TAPAS) on Thursday, November 12th, in celebrating the grape once associated primarily with Spain, and now planted in over 500,000 of the earth’s acres in both New World and old world interpretations.
Just a mere ten years ago, many Americans could not pronounce the name of the grape; perhaps they were confused by its 60 or more regional synonyms, including names like Tinto del Toro, Tinto Fino, Albillo Negro, Aragones, Ull de llebre, Juan Garcia and Chinchillana.
Still the foundation of the red wines from Rioja and 90-100% of Ribera del Duero, the early ripening black grape variety is now the fourth most planted grape variety and grows in many other countries including Italy, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, Australia, France, Portugal, Turkey, Canada, China and Thailand. In the United States, you can find growers and producers in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Texas.
As Spanish culture and cuisine enjoy more popularity, Tempranillo consumption continues to increase in the United States, due to no small part to the folks at TAPAS and their promotion through tastings, seminars and the establishment of International Tempranillo Day in 2011. Now in its eleventh year of existence, TAPAS has grown to over 100 members.
Pictured above are just a few of the many bottles of Tempranillo we’ve received or purchased to help celebrate this fabulous day. Many of the bottles are available on-line or in restaurants and wine shops near you:
Wedding Oak Winery 2013 Tioja
The newest release featuring grapes from the Texas High Plains, the Tioja is a blend of 74% Tempranillo, 15% Tannat and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2013 Tioja is $27, and available in Texas, and through the winery in San Saba, Texas.
Cholame Vineyard Bull Pen Tempranillo 2011 Monterey Country
Pronounced Sho-Lamb, meaning “The Beautiful One,” the vineyard is located at 1,900 feet in the Cholame Valley, east of San Miguel at the southern tip of Monterey County, California. The small-production winery was founded in 2006 by Southern California native David DuBois. The Bull Pen® is oak aged in a masculine Rioja style, offering smoky dark cherry, pepper and currant. Priced at $39, it is available through the winery website.
Malleolus 2011 Emilio Moro, Ribera del Duero
100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) the “Malleolus” comes from the Latin word meaning “majeulo” (small vineyard). For you medical students, the word also refers to a bony projection with a shape likened to a hammer head, especially each of those on either side of the ankle. The fruit for this particular wine came from the oldest vines in Pesquera de Duero, some up to 75 years old! This vintage represents one of the best in a decade for Bodegas Emilio Moro, and was released at $45. Houston residents can find it at Specs for around $53 per bottle.
Bokisch Vineyards 2012 Tempranillo 2012, Lodi
Markus Bokisch spent summers in the Penedes Region of Catalunya, just outside of Barcelona, as his mother was from Spain. He began making wine in his garage, and purchased the Lodi property in 1995 where he restores a 1967 VW Bus. It was there I joined him to taste this wine alongside a beautiful paella prepared by wife Liz. This wine is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano organically and sustainably farmed fruit from two vineyards, Liberty Oaks in Lodi’s Jahant Appellation and Las Cerezas, part of the Mokelumne River Appellation and just behind their home. This beautiful Tempranillo has a touch of pencil shavings on the nose, with dark fruit flavors and a dark cherry, chocolate finish, just a whisper of my favorite Tootsie Pop from the very corners of my memory. Only $23 per bottle, it should be a staple in every cellar.
Six Sigma Ranch Christian’s Reserve Tempranillo 2012, Lake County
The land of Six Sigma Ranch was first settled in the mid-1800s by about two dozen families, most of them living on 160-acre tracts. Six Sigma Winery was inaugurated on September 28th, 2005, when they processed their first grapes; Tempranillo harvested in Christian’s Diamond Mine Vineyard. In addition to wine, the Ranch raises livestock and sells processes grassfed beef, grassfed lamb and pastured pork. Currently available on-line is the 2011 vintage of this 100% Tempranillo, priced at $45.
Cepa 21 Tempranillo 2001, Ribero del Duero
Founded in 2007, Cepa 21 and is a new project from José and Javier Moro of winery Bodegas Emilio Moro in Ribera del Duero. Similar to Bodegas Emilio Moro, all of the wines there are produced with 100% Tempranillo grapes grafted on the family’s unique clone. Cepa 21 wines focus on a fresh fruit character of the grapes and are made for consumers with an appreciation for wine traditions as well as an enthusiasm to discover new and innovative styles. The winery itself is surrounded by countryside, emphasizing the harmony between the land and the wine. The winery and its on-site restaurant, Cepa 21 Restaurante, also offer a wide range of enotourism options to visitors of the area. Cepa 21 100% Tempranillo is $24.99
Castoro Cellars Reserve 2013 Tempranillo, Whale Rock Vineyard, Paso Robles
Niels Udsen fell in love with the wine industry in college, and started a winery with wife Bimmer in 1983. Nicknamed “Beaver,” Neils friends took to calling him “Il Castoro,” (Italian for “beaver”) while he was working in Italy. His Whale Rock vineyard is a CCOF Certified Organic Vineyard in the Templeton Gab of Paso Robles. Grapes for this wine were harvested on November 1, 2013 and bottled in June of this year. The wine was barrel aged 13 months in a combination of French and American Oak. Priced at $30 and available on-line. Here’s a little video on the family history of Castoro Cellars:
Spicewood Vineyards Texas Hill Country Estate Tempranillo 2012
Spicewood Vineyards was established in 1992, and became a bonded Texas Hill Country winery in 1995. The winery is located about an hour northwest of Downtown Austin in Spicewood, Texas off Rt 71. The 2012 Tempranillo is a blend of 92% Tempranillo and 8% Cabernet. Ruby red in color with bright fruit and balanced tannins, it hints at the familiar graphite note of a traditional Spanish Tempranillo as it opens up. Pair it with smoked meats, especially peppered salami. An easy drinking, every day wine, this Texas Tempranillo is priced at $30.
Twisted Oak Winery – The Spaniard – 2011 Calaveras County
We first discovered Twisted Oak Winery in 2008 when the very tall owner Jeff Stai, aka El Jefe, was pouring wines at the inaugural Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, California. Twisted Oak Winery features Iberian (Spanish and/or Portuguese) and Rhone-style blends, and one of its bests is The Spaniard, a Rioja-style blend made from Calaveras Country grapes. With two fabulous tasting rooms–one in the friendly town of Murphys and the other at the winery in Vallecito, there’s no excuse not to get Twisted if you’re near the foothills of the Sierras. Our bottle pictured is the 2011, a blend of 59% Tempranillo, 22% Graciano and 19% Garnacha, priced at $49. It’s sold out, but you CAN get the 2012 with slightly different percentages of the ol’ TGG (54/23/23), here at the Twisted website. Join the Twisted Few, like we did, for a discounted price.
Fenestra 2010 Tempranillo, Lodi
Fenestra was established in 1976 in Livermore Valley, California, one of only a handful of wineries in the valley at the time. Like many wineries located in other AVAs, Fenestra gets some of its fruit from Lodi. The 2010 Tempranillo grapes come from Hunters Oak Vineyard in Clement Hills, and Silvaspoons Vineyards in Galt. This Double Gold medal winner at the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, a blend of 87% Lodi Tempranillo, 6% Lodi Malbec, 3.5% Petite Sirah, and priced at $22. You can order by phone fax, or e-mail to have it shipped from the winery, if your state allows it. You can find an order form here.
Verdad Tempranillo, Vintage 2012, Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, Edna Valley
Verdad Wines are made by Louisa Sawyer-Lindquist at the Au Bon Climat Qupé winery in Santa Maria, California. The grapes are sourced from organic and biodynamic vineyards and are minimally processed in the cellar. Edna Valley is a cool region about 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean, which provides a different flavor profile from the usual suspects. Harvested on October 10, 2012, in addition to Tempranillo, the wine includes 5% Syrah and 5% Grenache and was barrel aged in both new French Oak and one-year old French and Hungarian Oak. Priced at $30, you can find out more here.
Bodegas Solar Viejo VAZA Tempranillo 2013 Rioja DOCa
VAZA from Bodegas Sola Viejo is a Tempranillo best enjoyed with friends, as I did first in Barcelona when I visited there in March with fellow writers Deborah Parker Wong, Becca Hensley, Brian Freedman, Kristine Hansen, the lovely folks at Janet Kafka and Associates and the hosts from Ferrer Family Wines.
We enjoyed it so much, we shared it again at an evening tasting party and reception for Wine Blogger Scholarship recipients in Corning, New York in August. VAZA is 100% Tempranillo made entirely from grapes grown in Rioja Alavesa. Youthful and bursting with deep fruity aromas of raspberry, strawberry and plum, its soft tannins make it an easy drinking wine. Available throughout Texas at Specs, this wine is a wonderful value at under $15.
To read more about Tempranillo, check out our other posts:
You can join International Tempranillo Day Events in a number of cities nationwide:
International Tempranillo Day Events
Matchbook Wine Company, Zamora, CA, will be having Tacos & Tempranillo for Tempranillo Days this weekend, November 14 & 15 from 11 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Enjoy a weekend of Tempranillo and fresh fare from their friends at Tacos 911. Want to make a wine trail out of it? Visit their Yolo County Tempranillo Day partners as well: Turkovich Winery, Berryessa Gap Vineyards,Capay Valley Vineyards, and Rootstock Gift Shop and Tasting Room.
Also in Yolo County, the town of Winters, CA sponsors the Winters Tempranillo Festival, with specials from local businesses, November 12-15.
Las Positas Vineyards, Livermore, CA, will honor Tempranillo Day Saturday andSunday, November 14th & 15th, with a special Tempranillo and Food pairing flight. The flight includes their Tempranillo-based rose, 2012 Tempranillo, and 2012 Coccineous (Tempranillo-based red blend), as well as their unreleased 2013 Tempranillo and 2013 Coccineous, which will be offered at a special futures discount. The tasting room will be open 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
Abacela, Roseburg, OR, celebrates November 12-15 in their tasting room, with a special Tempranillo flight for $10 ($5 for wine club members). A Spanish-themed Cheese Plate and Plaza Plates will be available all four days. Special events onThursday, November 12 include:
– Barrel Tasting of the 2014 Tempranillos, 12 noon – 4:00 p.m.
– Paella Dinner, 5 – 8:00 p.m.
– Live Music with Neil Johnson 5-8:00 p.m.
Longoria Wines, Santa Barbara County, CA, celebrates International Tempranillo Day from Thursday, November 12th, throughSunday, November 15th, in their Winery Tasting Room in Lompoc and their Downtown Los Olivos Tasting Room. They will be pouring their 2012 and 2013 Tempranillo and offering 10% off bottles and 15% off cases, Thursday–Sunday in Los Olivos and Friday–Sunday in Lompoc. Wine Club members will receive their discount, plus an additional 5% off.
Six Sigma Ranch, Lower Lake, CA, will be celebrating on Friday the 13th with an International Tempranillo Day Tasting from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. They will be hosting a small mob in a restored barn.
Edenvale Winery, Medford, OR, presents a Tempranillo Day Winemakers DinnerNovember 13, from 5:30 – 9:30 pm. This fabulous five course dinner features EdenVale’s Reserve Tempranillo wines and seasonal food. With festive autumn atmosphere, cozy fireplaces and elegant table service, slip back in time and dine at the Voorheis Mansion. Details, menu, and ticket information are online. $100 wine club members, $125 general admission.
Sample some of your favorite Rioja wines in honor of Tempranillo, the region’s noble grape, during an in-store tasting from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Friday November 13, at these Florida locations of Total Wine & More: Market Square Shopping Center, Fort Myers; Walter’s Crossing, Tampa; and Legacy Place, Palm Beach Gardens.
Join Mainstreet Wines, Countryside, IL for a tasting of Tempranillo from Rioja on Saturday, November 14 from 2 – 5 p.m.
Peterson Spirits & Fine Wine, Naperville, IL celebrates on November 14 with a tasting of Tempranillo-based Riojas from 1 – 5 p.m. at their 88 West Gartner Road location.
Kenaston Wine Market in Winnipeg, Manitoba invites you to pop by and sample a few offerings of Tempranillo on November 12.
No matter where you choose to celebrate, be it at one of the many events or with friends in your own home, make sure to give a shout out on twitter to share your thoughts about Tempranillo, by using #TempranilloDay or #Tempranillo!