If you live in the United States, there’s a chance you’ve never heard of an amazing Spanish red wine varietal called Tempranillo. But just because it’s not on your radar doesn’t mean it isn’t noteworthy. Believe it or not, Tempranillo is actually one of the top 5 most popular grapes grown in the world and the MOST popular in Spain. If you are a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, you need to try a bottle of Tempranillo from the beautiful Spanish wine region of Ribera del Duero.
Ribera del Duero Tempranillo, known locally as Tinto Fino, comes in different varieties ranging from deep and complex to more fresh and fruity, depending on the aging process. Despite these differences, you can expect flavor characteristics similar to jam, dark fruit, cedar,tobacco and/or oakiness no matter which bottle you’re trying. Another thing they have in common: they’re all delicious.
The region of Ribera del Duero has definitely made a name for itself around the world by producing some of Spain’s most sought after, elegant wines. It was actually from here that the first TempranilloI ever tried came.
My first bottles of Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero
“Bright cherry with lively fruit; fresh and elegant with soft tannins and a long and spicy finish.”*
“Red ripe cherry color with violaceous hues. Intense on the nose, typical aromas of the Tinto Fino can be perceived, such as mature black fruits, blackberry and currant. The subtle oak notes appear in the background. On the mouth it’s intense with lively tannins, but mature enough to leave a gentle and mellow sensation on the mouth. This wine is balanced and has a persistent acidity.”*
“Dark cherry red with garnet highlights. Intense aromas of dark fruit such as black cherries and blueberry jam with smoky and roasted notes, such as coffee against a wonderfully elegant oaky backdrop. A serious wine with juicy tannins, velvety and round thanks to the dried plum perfume of oak aging.”*
Bodegas Vizcarra Senda del Oro [FE(5]2014
“The most inexpensive wine made by this first-class bodega in the Ribera del Duero DO is a great value. With black fruit, mineral and violet characters, it shows solid and consistent quality every year. Vizcarra Senda del Oro has the complexity of a serious wine for a very reasonable price!”*
Whether you’re like me and hadn’t given this wine a try yet, or you’ve already fallen in love and are looking for some great bottle suggestions, I highly recommend you give these a go. As for what to have them with, don’t worry I’ve got you covered (it is, after all, the point of this post).
Thanks to its wide array of notes and flavors, Tempranillo can be paired with a variety of foods. I suggest that if you stick to pairing it with more substantial, hearty dishes that feature smoky meats, nearly anything roasted, herbs, corn-based foods, tomato sauces, and/or cheeses like Manchego, it’s going to make the whole experience pretty special. If you’re not sure where to start, keep things simple by identifying what part of the meal you’ll be serving it with or how you’ll be entertaining. After that, things should start falling into place pretty easily. If you’re looking for some suggestions, or maybe just a jumping-off point, you can check out some of my favorite Tempranillopairings below. And when you’re finished, be sure to use this coupon code (RIBERA) to get a 10% discount on your own bottle(s) of Tempranillo from wine.com!
- Manchego and/or Zamorano
- La Serena
- Cured Chorizo
- Jamon Serrano
- Marinated Spanish Olives
- Dried Apricots and Figs
- Fresh or dried pears
- Crusty Bread
- Herbed Dipping Oil
- Smoked Almonds
- Sun-dried Tomato Polenta Cakes
- Mini Chile Rellenos
- Crostini with Tapenade
- Chorizo and Manchego Stuffed Mushrooms
- Smoked Duck Empanadas
- Pancetta Chips with Herb-roasted Squash
- Spanish Meatballs in Almond Sauce
- Roasted Pepper Chorizo Salad
- Cheesy Herb Polenta with Mushrooms
- Spicy Corn Gazpacho
- Lamb Ribs with Herb-roasted Vegetables
- Chilindron Stew
- Beef Tenderloin Asturias
- Chile Rellenos
- Chicken with Sobrasada
- Roasted Pork Loin and Vegetables with Herb Mustard Butter
- Saffron Roasted Lamb and Potatoes
- Pork in Almond Sauce
*Winemakers notes via Wine.com