Tempranillo (also known as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinto Fino and Tinta del Pais in Spain, Aragonez or Tinta Roriz in Portugal, and several other synonyms elsewhere) is a black grape variety widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano ("early"), a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes.
Tempranillo is a black grape with a thick skin. It grows best at relatively high altitudes, but it also can tolerate a much warmer climate.
Pests and diseases are a serious problem for this grape variety, since it has little resistance to either. The grape forms compact, cylindrical bunches of spherical, deep blue-black fruit with a colourless pulp. The leaves are large with five overlapping lobes.
Tempranillo Aromas and Flavours
Tempranillo wine gives out fruit flavours of plum, cherry, strawberry and tomato along with earthy, herbal and floral flavours of leather, vanilla, tobacco, and clove. As far as aging is concerned, this wine is aged for 12 to 18 months in an American or a French oak barrel and it often takes the flavour of the barrel.
As far as tannin level is concerned, it is medium, with medium acidity levels. The alcohol content of the wine is 13 – 14.5 percent.
When one first tastes the Spanish Tempranillo, it gives the flavour of leather and cherries. The finish of the wine is mild and smooth and tends to linger on both the sides of the mouth due to its medium tannin content. American and New World Tempranillo give out a lot of cherry and tomato sauce flavours followed with a chunky tannin.
The Tempranillo wines are usually classified either as full-bodied or medium-bodied wines with red fruit characteristics.
Tempranillo appears more translucent in a glass due to its thin skins and large grape size. Due to the aging style in a traditional oak, Tempranillo wines give a ruddy orange hue. As far as texture is concerned, this wine has a not so thick and a non-oily texture
Tempranillo pairs really well with many foods due to its savoury taste. This wine goes well with the Spanish cuisine, which includes roasted vegetables, cured meats like lusty Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, etc. This wine also goes well with Italian dishes like Lasagne, and Pizza and tomato sauces based dishes.
It is also preferred with Mexican dishes like nachos, tacos, burritos and Chile Rellenos. This wine also tastes the best with Grits, Polenta and corn based dishes.