Varietal Spotlight:


Tempranillo is the most popular red wine grape grown in Spain and the fourth most-planted varietal in the world. This full-bodied red wine ages beautifully in oak and in the bottle. At Wilhelm Family Vineyards, we offer two different Gran Reserva vintages of Tempranillo: 2011 and 2012. This wine is also featured in our Spanish red wine blend Kevin’s Choice 6.

More information about this varietal:

The History of Tempranillo

It is difficult to determine exactly when Tempranillo originated. The first official mention of this varietal was in 1807, but it was likely being grown before this time. One early legend stated that it was brought by Cistercian monks as they traveled through the region and that the varietal was related to Pinot Noir. However, this has since been debunked based on a lack of genetic connection between these two grapes. Most estimates date this red wine to at least the 1500s. Archaeologists have determined that winemaking in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain began over 2,000 years ago. This is based on a mosaic of Bacchus, the Roman wine god, that was unearthed in the area. It is possible that Tempranillo was one of the early red wines grown and produced here, although this is not certain.

Tempranillo spread across the world in the 20th century, but it did not receive much attention outside of Spain at first. In the United States, its initial arrival was just before Prohibition, which was part of the reason it did not gain popularity initially. In the 1990s, this varietal saw a revival and it is featured in La Rioja blends as well as Port wine blends from Portugal. Tempranillo is one of the so-called 18 noble grapes on newer versions of this list, meaning that it exemplifies a unique flavor profile for red wines.

The Tempranillo Grape

Tempranillo gets its name from the Spanish word temprano (early) because it ripens sooner than other Spanish red grape varietals. The grape itself is thick-skinned and has a high anthocyanin count. Anthocyanins are natural pigments and they give Tempranillo wines a deep color. These vines are vigorous and require consistent pruning to ensure the best quality. This is one of the few varieties whose leaves turn red in the fall.

Characteristics of Tempranillo

This Spanish wine has savory notes and as a result, it is an incredibly versatile choice for pairing. It goes well with nearly any type of cuisine. The wine is known for its signature leather notes and you may also notice dark fruit such as black cherry and plum, cedar, herbaceous spice, and even a hint of cinnamon. Our Gran Reserva single-varietal wines are full-bodied reds that are aged over seven years in American and French oak. This helps create multiple layers of complex flavor. Our Kevin’s Choice 6 blend has the Reserva distinction.

Our Tempranillo-Based Wines

You can try our Tempranillo wines at either of our locations. Just visit [Estate Winery and Vineyard], [Terra Alta Bistro] or purchase bottles [online]. This intriguing varietal leaves red wine lovers wanting more and it could be your new favorite.

Purchase Tempranillo wines today online, at our estate winery, or at our tapas kitchen.