It is not too late to enter to win 2 FREE tickets to the Oregon Tempranillo Grand Tasting Sunday Jan 21st. Follow the link for all the details to enter.
The contest runs through noon on Jan 20th. If you don’t win the free tickets, we have a coupon code for a $15 discount “TastingPour15.” If you missed me talking about Tempranillo in Oregon on KGW Portland Today, check out the video below.
Read on for more about the Tempranillo grape, Tempranillo in Oregon, and some tips for buying and pairing.
Tempranillo – Taste and Pairing
Maybe you are already a fan of Tempranillo. I find that a lot of American wine drinkers really like this classic grape from Spain. It’s combination of red fruit – like strawberry and red plum and savory notes -like red tea leaves earthy notes – make it really interesting. Tempranillo spends time in oak, traditionally American oak, so we also get toasty notes, spice, and lots of vanilla. And it is big but not too big, making it a versatile food pairing. It can be hard to find a wine that goes with a burger or pizza AND is nuanced and complex. Tempranillo is great with grilled meats and with heavier fish. Food that is flavorfully, not hot, spiced. My favorite is Spanish food – tapas or paella. Here is a recipe for paella.
Tempranillo in Oregon
Tempranillo got it start in Oregon with Earl and Hilda Jones and their Umpqua Valley winery Abacela. They were looking for a place to grow Tempranillo and in 1995 planted the first Tempranillo in Oregon. Leaders not just in the state, but the country, in 1997 Abacela bottled the first 100% Tempranillo varietal wine made in modern US history. They have gone on to critical acclaim:
1998 Abacela Tempranillo – Double Gold and Best in (Tempranillo) Class – San Francisco International Wine Competition – Abacela was the only American wine up against Spanish producers.
2005 Abacela Reserve Tempranillo – Gold Medal – Tempranillo al Mundo Competition – 1st American varietal Tempranillo to win gold in a European/Spanish owned and operated competition.
Other wineries followed suit and now approximately 70 Oregon wineries make Tempranillo. Most Tempranillo grows in Southern Oregon – Umpqua and Rogue Valleys – where it is warm and dry but with cool nights. But Tempranillo grows everywhere Oregon grows wine grapes – Willamette Valley, Columbia Gorge, Walla Walla.
Buying Oregon Tempranillo
First, you really should take the opportunity to taste at the Oregon Tempranillo Grand Tasting this Sunday Jan 21st. I hope you win the free tickets or use the coupon code for a $15 discount. You can taste Tempranillo from 30+ Oregon wineries and see what you like. Here is a list of some of our favorite producers. I am sure we will add some names at the Grand Tasting.
Abacela, Kriselle Cellars, Dominio IV, Raptor Ridge, Oak Knoll, Domaine Trouvere, Eola Hills Wine Cellars, Spangler Vineyards, Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyard, Holloran Vineyard, and Ledger David Cellars. (Look for tasting notes to come.)
Buying Spanish Tempranillo
Because European wineries have different rules there are some label clues that are really useful if you know how to read them.
- Your bottle of Spanish Tempranillo may not say “Tempranillo.” Instead look for these place names. Rioja, Ribera Del Duero, Toro
- Spanish Tempranillo have minimum time they spend in barrel and bottle before release. The younger wines will have more fresh fruit flavors. The older wines will have more dried fruit and savory flavors. They will have picked up more spice from the oak, and their tannin will be softer. Look for these terms: (Aging time varies by region. These are for red Rioja wines.)
- Crianza -one year bottle, one year barrelReserva- aged 3 years with 1yr min in barrelGran Reserva – 2 years wood, 3 years bottle