Killer curves. Great beauty. Tempranillo is the witty, friendly, smart, sexy lady in your life. She’s graceful like leather, herb and baking spice notes often supported on a black cherry heart. Some guys may not have what it takes to convince her, but they all want to see if there’s a chance. And she doesn’t make it easy.
Ribera del Duero is a loving home for Tempranillo. The climate there is continental, with hot summer days, cool nights and a cold winter. The Tempranillo vineyards of line the Ribera del Duero, a river that starts in Spain and flows through Portugal where it is known as the Douro. This environment makes for great 100% Tempranillo wines that often have impressive longevity. In the Rioja region, Tempranillo’s often the strong link in the chain (a blend) with Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. This is Spain’s noble grape. In many ways, Tempranillo bears a resemblance to Pinot Noir, another beautiful wine experience.
Much like with Pinot Noir, your palate should be used to high quality foods and ingredients, including organics (as I see it, if you take the time to treat your crop with good organic love, your efforts must produce something of high quality). Your palate should appreciate purity, as it does when your diet is strictly itals. Your palate is teased with a little spice in my fave Ribera del Duero reds that I tasted just recently at Wines of Spain Great Match 2011 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. (I shot my Rioja twitcon there, follow @RiojaWINE). I had the pleasure of vibing with both Verdejo and Tempranillo on personal level. They could be great mates in the same meal – Verdejo paired with a light appetizer like seared foie gras tourchon or saltfish with dumpling and sautéed spinach and onion. The main course could be a beautiful heritage chicken roast rubbed with Illchef #7 spice (link @iLLCH3F to inquire, and please truss that bird before roasting!) with carrots, onions, garlic and celery to compliment the Tempranillo. I suggest decanting Rioja Reservas and Grand Reservas as well as Ribera del Dueros older than age 6 (2005 or earlier).
Your homework for this week and weekend is to try 3 Tempranillos. Ask your favorite retailer or browse your favorite wine website for Ribera del Duero and Rioja. You can easily find a Rioja Joven or an inexpensive Crianza (under $15) then treat yourself to two Ribera wines – one around $15.00 and the other, on the older side, at $40.00 and up. Pay close attention to the varietal makeup of the Rioja. Do Tweet your notes to @wineLIFE_, @riojawine and @wines_fromspain #TempranilloHW. Tell us which one was your favorite (please include the wine’s name, vintage and region), how much you paid for it and its best qualities. You can also post notes on the wineLIFE Facebook wall. You will fall in love!
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Vee Fitzgerald DWS xoxo