Tempranillo: The Quick Inside Scoop

Next Thursday is International Tempranillo Day. Ahead of that excuse for drinking a great Rioja, here are a few thoughts on the variety. The name Tempranillo is derived from the Spanish temprano, meaning early, and is Spain’s best-loved and most-prized grape variety. In Rioja, Tempranillo makes mellow, long-aged red wines that are show-stoppers for their elegance. In Ribera del Duero, Tempranillo makes powerhouse reds. There, the grape is known as Tinto Fino. After centuries of adaptation, the Tempranillo clones that exist in Ribera del Duero are quite different from those in Rioja. Next door in Portugal, Tempranillo is called Aragonez or Tinta Roriz and is one of the grapes, along with other indigenous grapes, blended together to make the country’s renowned Ports.

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