Spain’s premier wine grape variety, Tempranillo is recognised as one of the nine noble wine grapes and is widely grown worldwide. This ancient, thick-skinned grape variety with deep colour produces vibrant, food-friendly wines, making it a dinner party staple. It is commonly blended with other varieties, such as Grenache and Graciano, creating beautifully balanced fruity red wines.
Where is Tempranillo grown?
While famous for their Spanish roots, Tempranillo grape vines are cultivated in regions as diverse as Portugal, Mexico, Australia, the US and Argentina. The grape can grow in warm climates but tends to thrive in cooler, high-altitude areas with protection from the elements. Tempranillo is grown in both warm and cool regions of Australia.
Warmer Australian regions include:
- Barossa Valley, South Australia
- McLaren Vale, South Australia
- Clare Valley, South Australia
Cooler Australian regions include:
- Adelaide Hills, South Australia
- Canberra District, New South Wales
- Eden Valley, South Australia
Tempranillo translates to ‘early’ as the grapes ripen earlier than any other grapes.
Tempranillo wine style and characteristics
A dark, thick-skinned grape, Tempranillo typically produces medium-bodied wines, although it can also be full-bodied. The wines tend to be dry with high tannins and acidity and a high alcohol level of around 13.5%–15% ABV.
The grapes produce ruby-red wines when young, changing to garnet with age.
Our best Tempranillo wines
Tempranillo grapes make wines bursting with fruity notes of plums, raspberries and mulberries but also feature subtle savoury aromas of dark chocolate, tobacco and leather. Herbal aromas of black pepper and dill may also be found in between the fruit flavours.
Tempranillo wines are pretty easy-going when it comes to food pairings; their savoury aromas make them excellent companions to most dishes. Wines made with Tempranillo grapes are perfect for enjoying alongside chorizo tapas or a summer barbecue, suiting most occasions well. The wines are also ideal for pairing with cheeses, and the savoury notes work well with olives and cured meats – great for charcuterie boards.
How to serve Tempranillo
It’s a common mistake to serve wines made using Tempranillo grapes at room temperature. This can dull the wine’s subtle savoury flavours. The best bet is to serve Tempranillo wine between 15-20°C – store it somewhere cool before serving.