Around the World with Tempranillo: Wines from Beronia, Bokisch, Harney Lane, No Girls, Zuccardi paired with Moroccan Lamb Shanks

5 Tempranillo from 3 countries

Which grape had the most new plantings in the world from 2000-2016? You’d probably never suspect it, but here’s a hint: Nov. 10 would be a great day to have a glass of wine made from it! If you guessed, TEMPRANILLO, you’re correct!  Held annually on the second Thursday of November, International Tempranillo Day celebrates the versatile Tempranillo grape, the fourth most planted grape in the world with almost 600k of the world’s vineyards, and known by over 60 synonyms including Aragonez in Portugal. 

While indigenous to Spain where Tempranillo has been grown for over 2000 years, where much of the new vines can be found, and famously used in Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines, until about 25 years ago, Tempranillo was really only grown on the Iberian Peninsula where in Spain 87% of the country’s vineyards are planted to Tempranillo because it does well in continental climates. The name Tempranillo refers to its early ripening tendency. With less hang time, the grape requires intense heat to ripen.

5 Tempranillo from 3 countries

It’s taken awhile to figure out where in the world other than the Iberian Peninsula that Tempranillo does well. In Spain, extreme diurnal shifts mean temperatures can reach over 100 during the day and drop that night into the 30s. As cited in Wikipedia, wine expert Oz Clarke notes:

To get elegance and acidity out of Tempranillo, you need a cool climate. But to get high sugar levels and the thick skins that give deep color you need heat. In Spain these two opposites are best reconciled in the continental climate but high altitude of the Ribera del Duero.[10]

In the 1990s, Tempranillo experienced a renaissance of sorts, as Tempranillo found new homes in the mountainous continental Western United States– and supporters like TAPAS, an advocacy group of growers and winemakers. In fact, I first came to know California’s Tempranillo from one of the founders of TAPAS, Jeff Stai, owner of Twisted Oak in Calveras County and a big fan of Spanish grapes (as well as the film The Princess Bride). 

Today many regions around the world grow Tempranillo beyond Europe including in North America’s California (especially Lodi, El Dorado, and other Sierra foothill areas), Southern Oregon (in the Rogue River and Umpqua Valleys), Washington (in the Columbia Valley and along the Columbia River), British Columbia, Baja California; in South America, Chile, Argentina; in Oceania,  New Zealand and AUS, plus  South Africa, China, and Thailand.

Speaking to its potential in Washington, Bionic Wines (Cayuse and No Girls) winemaker Christophe Baron shared these insights:

“Tempranillo from Walla Walla is like a bullfight: dry earth, dusty, fruity wines. You can really feel the terroir behind it, it’s generous, and food-friendly… It’s a niche market wine, it is never gonna be big [ed note: have mass market appeal] but it’s a wine for real wine lovers.

“At Bionic Wines, we wish that more growers will grow Tempranillo in Walla Walla, because just like Syrah it’s very site-specific and it really tastes like the place you’re planting it into.


More new plantings of Tempranillo than other grapes

The 2022 edition of Which Winegrape Varieties are Grown Where? by Kym Anderson and Signe Nelgen reports that from 2000-2016, world wide Tempranillo plantings expanded more than any other grape (see table above taken from the Anderson-Nelgen as published by Mike Veseth on the Wine Economist).

No matter where it’s grown, Tempranillo runs the gamut in price from very affordable to splurge worthy. 


Tempranillo Day

In California, Tempranillo flourishes in Lodi, and this weekend, it will be celebrated at Bokisch Vineyards and nine other Lodi wineries as they host the 2022 Tour of Tempranillo November 12th and 13th! Read more about  The Tour of Tempranillo which is all about experiencing this Spanish varietal wine in all its renditions. This weekend at Bokisch Vineyards, enjoy a side-by-side tasting of the 2018 Tempranillo, 2018 Bokisch Family Estate Tempranillo, and the 2016 Gran Reserva Tempranillo, along with live music and food trucks. 

Read more about Lodi’s Tempranillo and Albarino.

5 Tempranillo from 3 countries

Tempranillo Wines 

  • 2013 Zuccardi Q Tempranillo, Santa Rosa, Mendoza 

  • 2017  Beronia Crianza, Rioja

  • 2018 No Girls La Paciencia Vineyard Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley

  • 2018 Harney Lane Tempranillo Home Ranch, Lodi

  • 2019 Bokisch Tempranillo, Las Cerezas Vineyard, Lodi

  • plus, from Baja California’s Valle de Guadelupe in Mexico, brief appearances from Anatolia and Finca de Carrodilla with more to follow about these wines and my visits to these wineries during the 43rd Congress of OIV


  • Spanish cheeses and cured meat 
  • Festive Fall Salad with Apples, Pomegranate, Blueberries, Manchego, Spiced Pepitas 
  • Coucous
  • Instant Pot Morroccan Spiced Braised Lamb Shanks with mint yogurt sauce 


2019 Bokisch Tempranillo, Las Cerezas Vineyard, Lodi


2019 Bokisch Tempranillo, Las Cerezas Vineyard, Lodi

ABV: 13.8%
SRP:  $36.50
Grapes: Organically grown Tempranillo  
Cases: 168 
Sample for my review.

For 20 years, Bokisch has led organic farming in Lodi and today has 303 acres of certified organic vines. From sparkling Albarino to rosado to Tempranillo to late harvest Graciano, Bokisch speaks to a passion for food friendly wines made from Spanish grapes grown sustainably and produced with respect for people and planet. Eleven of 25 bottlings are CCOF, and they produce a total of about 6000 cases each year. Bokisch is one of the wineries I have written about for Slow Wine Guide for two years now, and I nominated them for a Snail Award. Check out Slow Wine Guide to discover more amazing pesticide free wines.

With his family roots in Catalan, Markus Bokisch studied enology at UC Davis where he met wife Liz. After graduating, they traveled and worked in Spain where Markus made Cava and Liz taught English. In 1995 they purchased land in Clement Hills, and in 1998, they imported from Spain Tempranillo and other cuttings to make their dream came true to make wine made from Spanish grapes for Americans. In 2005, he began farming organically. Elyse Perry became winemaker in 2016.

Of their 880 acres, the 303 acres of the Las Cerezas, Vista Luna, and the Terra Alta Vineyard are certified as organic by CCOF. The remaining acres follow Lodi Rules, farmed organically and sustainably, but not certified. The Bokisch Vineyards label offers nine Spanish varieties including Garnacha Blanca, Verdejo, Garnacha, Monastrell. 

Appearance: Ruby, very youthful, garnet rim

Aroma: Cherry fruit, minerals, wet stone, smell of the moving water in the Mokelumne River, sweet tobacco, sage, mint,

Palate: Big burst of sweet ripe, cherries up front. Tannins are quite present. Well balanced and enjoyable tannins. This is an easy drinking Tempranillo. Clean minerals are also present, clay, white clay, nicely smooth texturally. More complex herbal flavor is delivered in a Tempranillo glass.

Pairing: The youthful brightness of the wine is followed through when food is on the palate, with cured meat the ripe sweet cherry becomes more like rhubarb and lovely pepper spice is brought forward. Aged Manchego dances so beautifully with the wine. The flavors brought forth are almost like a salted caramel apple. All that cherry fruit knocks out the hot spice out of the park. There are several pairing suggestions at the Bokish tasting room for their wines. We believe that they should include this recipe to go with their Tempranillo. 


2018 Harney Lane Tempranillo Home Ranch, Lodi

2018 Harney Lane Tempranillo Home Ranch, Lodi

ABV: 14.9%
SRP:  $32 
Grapes: Tempranillo grown following Lodi Rules
Sample for my review.

This wine came to me as part of a pitch showcasing the range of wines being grown in Lodi, a region famous in most people’s minds for Zinfandel. 

At Harney Lane, they definitely make some beautiful rich zinfandel wines from grapes they’ve been growing for over 100 years. About 15 years ago, they started making their own wines too from their estate fruit including that other Spanish grape favorite, Albarino. 

Appearance:  Ruby with a pink rim, very youthful, Medium density, very clear

Aroma: Very cherry, mint and sage, , menthol, earthen, dried brush, oak, vanilla, cocoa, chocolate covered cherries, 

Palate: Cherry pipe tobacco, sweet ripe cherries, unusual texture, velveteen, it is not unpleasant, it is just interesting and unusual, grippy tannins, rich cocoa, cherry cordial, 

Pairing: The cured meats are lovely with the wine which brings out lovely pepper spice and richness in the wine that is not present with out the food. The creamy richness of the Tres Leches cheese is great with the wine. Manchego and this wine become creme Bruelle together.  The Harney Lane wine is so rich and so sweet. The dish and the wine “crash” into each other like the Dave Matthews song and become one. The wine becomes super rich and like candy. The mint is also a fantastic friend of this wine and the meal. 

Back label of 2018 No Girls La Paciencia Vineyard Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley


2018 No Girls La Paciencia Vineyard Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley

ABV: 13.8%
SRP:  $$$$
Grapes: Biodynamic Tempranillo 
Sample for my review.

Biodynamically farmed, the La Paciencia Vineyard is planted at 3.5’ x 3.5’ at an angle to reduce sun exposure and slow ripening arc slightly. Cayuse Vineyards’ Resident Vigneronne Elizabeth Bourcier and Christophe Baron worked together since the first release of No Girls in 2008 until Elizabeth took over sole wine studio responsibility for the project with the 2011 vintage with the goal of developing a style reflects the uniquene character of La Paciencia Vineyard.

In 2002 Christophe Baron purchased a downtown Walla Walla building that had once been a bordello. Back in the day, bordellos operated openly, but with women’s suffrage movement and other changes, they began to close. The name came about because “When he walked through the doors for the first time, he found the scene almost eerily preserved. At the top of a flight of wide, sweeping stairs, the words “No Girls” were still visible where they had been painted on a wall sometime in the 1960s— the wine label is an actual photograph…the phrase “No Girls” painted on the walls also signified the larger cultural shift towards women’s rights and modern progressive thought. Flipping the script, Christophe named this wine No Girls in celebration of independent, talented women everywhere, including those behind some of the world’s greatest productions–Resident Vigneronne Elizabeth Bourcier among them!”

No Girls, they say, “signifies the ending of an era that marginalized and compromised female empowerment, and represents the dawning of the age of women’s rights. So No Girls is far more than just wine—it’s powered by the strength of women, a sense of history, progressive thought and “Savoir Faire.” Beyond the building and its colorful legacy, the name No Girls recognizes our rich history, and is a gesture of respect and appreciation to everyone who created the Walla Walla Valley we enjoy today.”

They suggest laying this wine down for 3-5 years or longer if you can wait– and if you can score a bottle! Currently, the mailing list is full.

The 2019 No Girls La Paciencia Vineyard Tempranillo received from Jancis Robinson 17.5+ Points.

Appearance:  Ruby with a fuchsia rim

Aroma: There is no mistaking that this is a natural wine. Once you get past the funky dirty socks, it gets really interesting. You get candied cherries, black pepper and smoke, BBQ cherry glaze, tree bark, pine tree bark, 

Palate: Very beefy on the palate, husk and musk, the cherry fruit is there but it is a savory monster of a wine, this is a very interesting and pleasurable wine. Tart cherry fruit with many layers of flavor, very clean mineral finish, fresh and bright, the fruit hangs out for a good long time, pepper, cherry phosphate, bright fresh fruit that zings. The wine wakes the palate. 

Pairing: With cured meat there is such lovely spice brought out in the wine. The wine and the flavors of the meat linger on for a good long time. The tres leches cheese is so perfect with the wine. The complexity of the wine and the cheese together are so fantastic. The Manchego cheeses were alright with the wine but ended up a bit dry tasting. Aged Manchego is a bit better, but it really loved the creamy saltiness of the tres leches cheese. The salad is fun with the wine. The cheese and the fried cured meat as well as the fresh blueberries take this wine to another detention. With our Morrocan dish the funk in the natural wine dissipates. What comes through is the spice and the fruit. One of the issues that people have with lamb shanks is that it has a mutton flavor. The wine tames those flavors in the meal. 

2017  Beronia Rioja

2017  Beronia Rioja DOC

ABV: 14.5%
SRP: $15
Grapes: 94% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 1% Mazuelo aged in mixed oak barrels 
Sample for my review

With its crew top closure, and affordable price, we weren’t expecting that much. But this wine really delivers! Just because a wine has a screw top does not mean you should write it off as not being worthy.  You’d think we’d have learned this lesson already from the amazing AUS wines under Stelvin closures. This one also comes in half bottle sizes perfect for gift baskets, picnic baskets, or a weeknight.

Appearance:  Ruby on the way to garnet with a mauve rim

Aroma: Lovely nose, rose petals, potpourri, both dried and fresh rose petals, red delicious apples, cherry, sage, rosemary, fresh lavender, herbs de Provence  

Palate: Very smooth, fresh tart cherry, black pepper, very mouthwatering acidity, rhubarb, star anise 

Pairing: Cured meats bring out super tart cherry, fantastic with the Manchego. The nutty characteristics of the cheese bring out fruit and lovely baking spices in the wine. The acidity in the tomatoes and the acidity in the cherry profile of the wine become a match made in heaven. The smoked paprika in the lamb dish are a perfect match with the wine. The violet, forest floor and the dryness makes the palate salivate for more. It engages the palate. The wine is perfect with this Morracian influenced meal.

2013 Zuccardi Q Tempranillo, Santa Rosa, Mendoza

2013 Zuccardi Q Tempranillo, Santa Rosa, Mendoza 

ABV: 14%
Grapes: Old vine Tempranillo
Sample for my review.

Wine Enthusiast recently selected Zuccardi Valle de Uco as the Best New World Winery of 2022, the most outstanding winery located outside the United States and Europe, winning out over Monte Xanic (Mexico), Montes Wines (Chile) and Reyneke (South Africa). According to Wine Enthusiast, the winery, built in 2016, is an architectural marvel, and the complex wines express terroir.

This is a sample I received quite some time ago and we just never got around to it, so it is fun to see how well this affordable wine has aged.

Appearance:  Garnet, brickish rim, medium density

Aroma: Cherry, earthen, violets, black licorice, forest floor, duff

Palate: Cherry, cherry, bright tart cherry, violets, celery seed,  forest floor, duff, very vibrant, this is a very nice wine, black licorice comes across on the finish both in flavor and texturally–the way that black licorice makes your mouth feel. 

Pairing: Cured meats bring out even more beautiful cherry fruit in the wine. The aged Manchego brings out lovely mocha characteristics in the wine. This is a perfect tapas wine. This is such a nice wine with the meal. It loves the juicy richness of the lamb and the tomato umami, but more than anything the smoked paprika brings out a savory richness. Such a great flavor together. It is all about all of the flavors in this dish paired with all of the layers of flavors in the wine. It is apparent in this older vintage, but is also apparent in all of the Tempranillo wines that we tasted this evening.  The mint is perfect, just the tiniest hint of mint sets of the wine so nicely. Most Tempranillo wines need time to reach their perfect peak. Time laying down is a friend of Tempranillo. This wine is nice now, and could still lay down for a while. It is young fresh and lively. 

Bonus 2 Teaser Tempranillo from Valle de Guadelupe :

Finca de Carrodilla

2019 Finca de Carrodilla Biodynamic Tempranillo 
SRP $50
Serious heavy hitter … and with oak!


2021 Anatolia Organic practicing Tempranillo
SRP $25 
It’s a screw top! Fresh and lively! Newer style for the winery! 

More to come about these wines and my trip to Baja, but hold this thought: Tempranillo was consistency my favorite grape from the region, followed by Grenache. Lots of experimentation with minimal intervention going on with younger winemakers. I definitely prefer the newer more elegant, food friendly, balanced style over the older style of highly extracted, overly oaked wines — lots of very powerful, very macho Cabernet Sauvignon. 

From 2000 year old tradition in Spain to newer wine styles in Baja, Tempranillo is a grape to get in your glass for Tempranillo Day and any day!

Instant Pot Moroccan Spiced Braised Lamb Shanks with Mint Yogurt Sauce


  • 1T olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t ground allspice
  • 2T smoked paprika
  • 2 T harissa seasoning
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste 
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • On saute setting, brown lamb shanks in olive oil 
  • Remove and set aside
  • Saute onion 5 min
  • Add garlic and spices saute 1 min
  • Deglaze with beef stock
  • Add all other ingredients
  • Pressure cook manual on high for 50 minutes
  • Serve over couscous and top with yogurt sauce

Mint Yogurt sauce


  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt 
  • 2 T fresh chopped mint
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  • Combine ingredients 



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