Tempering the taste
In tempranillo you’ll get an instant hit of purple and red fruits, most notably plum, cherry, tomato and dried fig. The American or French oak of the barrel will then come to the fore, along with cedar, leather and a hint of tobacco. Spice notes of clove, vanilla and dill also commonly feature.
Blended tempranillo wines are more common than pure tempranillo wines, largely due to the fact that tempranillo has a neutral flavour profile when compared to most other grapes, and readily takes on other characteristics. For this reason blends can be made up of as much as 90% tempranillo, with grenache or viura most commonly making up the balance.
Tempranillo is also more capable than most of taking on the flavour of the barrel in which it is aged. This makes for a marked difference in a wine that is barrelled for a short time versus one that is aged generously – the same wine can go from fresh and fruity in the former to complex, dark and distinct in the latter.
An adaptable tablemate, tempranillo can be paired with a wide variety of foods, making it perfect for a night of tapas. But to truly showcase the wine, choose an Italian dish with a tomato-based sauce or barbecued meats.