Are you tempted by Tempranillo? I am! And I’m not the only one! In fact, more people would be tempted by tempranillo if they tried it.
Today, November 8, is International Tempranillo Day–the perfect day to give Tempranillo a try! As Tempranillo is the fourth most planted wine grape planted in the world, with most of it grown in Spain, it’s easy to celebrate Tempranillo Day by simply opening and enjoying one.
One of my favorite wines from 2011 was a Tempranillo from Cinder Wines in Idaho that I tasted on my northwest road trip that summer. Here’s a great story of discovering their wines and about the power and versatility of tempranillo which I excerpt from a post on their facebook page:
I am writing this letter as a note of thanks — expressing my sincere compliments because of a short story which happened during my recent visit to California (my secondary residence). Several weeks prior, I happen by chance to attend the “members” Cinder wine release event in late October. It was a terrific venue…coming away (at the time) with a good impression of the Tempranillo (2009), Chardonnay (2010) and Cabernet / Merlot Blend (2009) — all “bomb(s)”…with a balanced finish, fair price point and subtle scents /colors of each varietal.Fast forward, I made my annual trek for a dinner party in California last week held by my dearest of friends (nicknamed — The Wine Snobs) of Yountville, CA.As usual, the dinner spread on the table had the best of ingredients from the local farms / coastline of the State. But more importantly, a few select guests (in the know) brought (as a traditional contest of wine snobbery) a “brown bag” of wines to share in the evening gala (reunion) of friends.
Since I was the only person living outside of California — rushing to catch a flight back home to the Bay Area with little time to spare and acquire (pair) some good bottles for the dinner party was a problem. But then I had a “light bulb moment” to bring the three wine bottles I recently sampled / purchased fr
The main course were grilled racks of lamb with a light bread-crusted coat and aromatic scent of rosemary/garlic blend served over a spread of polenta. Four “covered” bottles were decanted for a 1/2 hour and presented on the main dinning table. (1) Silver Oak Winery – Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley) – 2006, (2) Trefethen Vineyards – HALO Blend 2006, (3) Opus One – 2007 Meritage Blend and (4) Cinder, Krause Family Cellars – 2009 Tempranillo. I selected (entered) the Tempranillo to compliment the bold flavors of the lamb.
The unbiased aspect of “blind tasting” is the true sense (judgement) of wine snobbery when it comes to “scent, sight and taste “ The fear of selecting or ranking a “Two-Buck” Chuck (From Trader Joe’s) as #1 from a blind group of the cult elite wines never escaped our minds (in a joking manner). Thus – the competitive pressure to rank and select the “best in class” were upon the entire group of friends and guests. To my chagrin — it was a tie between the Up-Front Bold – Fruit Bomb of Cinder’s Tempranillo and the long lasting “silk finish” of Opus One…wide in contrast & taste. More remarkably — the Cinder bottle beat out a Napa favorite – Silver Oak! Again — given the price point and varietal of grapes, my friends were amazed and shocked by the simple complexity of the Tempranillo grape…almost nonexistent / crushed in Napa.
Yes — the critics were skeptical…questioning the age-ability of laying down a bottle from Cinder. But heck — my response was if it drinks well and you can acquire it…drink it now or forever hold your peace. So far — of all the wines I have evaluated in Idaho…Cinder ranks among the best !
In all, my friends came away quite impressed with your winery…amazed this all came about from a place in Idaho (Snake River Valley). These bottles were the “sleeper / hit” of the party –proud knowing each had the “legs” to stand on their own and compete next to the “big boys” of Napa, CA.
In the famous words of Douglas MacArthur — “I shall return…” I am glad I stumbled upon your place… Keep up the great work!
In Vino Veritas – AG
For my own Tempranillo Day celebration, I picked up a bottle of Four Brix 2009 Temptress, a Spanish Rioja style blend of 44% Tempranillo, 29% Mourvedre, 16% Grenache, and 11% Graciano made from central California coast fruit, specifically from Ron Siletto’s vineyards located in the Tres Pinos area of San Benito County near Bioletti’s famed El Gavilan Vineyards. According to the Four Brix, “Ron is a true historian of the area and still grows many of the varietals that Bioletti brought to the region over 100 years ago.” An early ripening grape, Tempranillo can be so acidic as to be abrasive and it can be plain, which is why it is a common blending grape.
The Four Brix Temptress is a delightful expression not only of Tempranillo, but of the magic of blending. While the Cinder offers a pure, briny, intense expression of the grape, the Temptress offers great complexity. The spicy earthy bouquet rises from the glass to greet your nose, and as the wine opens up, menthol and rosemary show up. We found cigar box, cocoa, dark cherry, and currants. It went well with the assorted cheeses we had as well as with the marinara sauce with Italian sausage and meatballs that Sue made for us. We suspect it would be really wonderful with a chicken in mole sauce.
If you are tempted by Tempranillo you will like this wine!
Lucky for me, Four Brix is located nearby at 2290 Eastman, Ventura, CA 93003. (Perhaps not so lucky is that it is located right by my bank!) The tasting room is open on weekends and by appointment. (I am long overdue to write more about them–they have a wonderful story!) They use real corks and their reds retail for around $30; the Temptress is $28 (thank you Gary for the sample!)
Some wineries like Core Winery hailing from Orcutt, California are celebrating with Tempranillo Specials; Core makes six wines with tempranillo in them. Since today’s date is 11/8, if you order 8 or more wines that have Tempranillo, shipping is 11 cents. Check their website or call 805-714-5057.
To see what other people are drinking and saying about Tempranillo or to join in the conversation, visit Twitter and search for the hashtag #Tempranillo. Beginning at 5pm Pacific Time, the Wine Harlot is hosting a a tweet chat.
Learn more about Tempranillo from the Bubbly Professor!
PS In 2011, Tempranillo Day was held in September aka Septempranillo. As a poet and general lover of plays on language, I hope they return the event to Septempranillo in 2013!!
- A Snapshot of Tempranillo Producers in Oregon and California (catavino.net)
- Grenache Day Lifts Your Spirits (winepredator.wordpress.com)
- A Ribera del Duero tasting (steveheimoff.com)