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Spotlight on Tempranillo

This show was published 03 December 2021


Though Tempranillo can be found all over the world, by far the main country is Spain and then Portugal. It has a thick skin which means you can extract deep colour and high tannins but it can lack acidity so medium acidity is normal and low night time temperatures allow the grape to hold onto acidity.

Styles can be light and fruity, such as Joven styles, where often carbonic maceration is involved. The four styles are Joven, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva which involve ageing the wine. With Joven, there is no time in barrel and no ageing in bottle before release. Chris goes through the ageing times required by law in Spain for each style.

The main regions in Spain are located in the North and Central parts with a continental climate with big temperature day/night differences (high diurnals). The most famous region is of course Rioja which is split into sub-regions. Tempranillo is most widely grown in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa regions both climbing up in the Cantabrian mountains at higher altitudes.

In Rioja, Tempranillo is often blended with Garnacha (Grenache), Graciano and Mazuelo (also known as CariƱena).

In Portugal, Tempranillo is known as Tinta Roriz and can be used to make Port as well as reds, though the more popular grape there is Touriga Nacional, which Tempranillo is often blended with.


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