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Top Tempranillo wines of the Decanter World Wine Awards

To celebrate International Tempranillo Day, we highlight the highest scoring Tempranillo wines, all 96-97 points, from the 2022 competition...

Tempranillo, Spain’s most important red grape variety, is versatile – capable of producing juicy, red-fruit driven young wines as well as wines that can withstand long ageing periods in oak, gaining complexity with layers of vanilla, leather, tobacco spice and liquorice.

Considered native to Rioja, Tempranillo is now a key variety in Spain’s most prominent wine regions, notably Ribera del Duero where it is known as Tinto Fino, and with its popularity worldwide, Tempranillo is now grown in wine regions across the world.

Scroll down to the top scoring Tempranillo wines of DWWA 2022

Results from this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards are exemplar of this experimentation and growth of plantings worldwide, with award-winning examples coming from Australia, Argentina and South Africa to the US, Mexico, Turkey, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Spain, however, remains Tempranillo’s mainstay with over 800 wines – varietal or blended – awarded a medal at DWWA 2022.

A majority of the competition’s top-scoring Tempranillo wines come from Rioja and Ribera del Duero, but Toro is well worth noting for its first-ever Best in Show medal – and Value at that – for Bodegas Mazas’ Mazas Roble 2020. The judges noted the wine’s sheer power, exuberance and generosity, as well as its incredible value at less than £15 per bottle: ‘A combination that’s hard to resist.’

Tempranillo grape variety

Tempranillo is an authorised grape variety in more than 25 Designations of Origin in Spain. Of these, 12 DOCs consider Tempranillo their main or preferred variety.

To celebrate International Tempranillo Day and narrow an incredible list of top-scoring Tempranillo wines from the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards, we highlight the competition’s 96-97 point wines well worth discovering…

DWWA 2022: Top Tempranillo wines


Bodegas Cornelio Dinastía, Imperial Autor 2018

Best in Show, 97 points
The aesthetic evolution over the last few years in Spain’s greatest wine region leaves its winemakers with more style alternatives than ever before – and fortunate drinkers with a range of different translations of these propitious soils and skies. The Rioja that won its way through to our Best In Show selection this year is perhaps best described as a ‘new classic’ – rather deeper and more primary in colour, scent and expressive force than the limpid, time-burnished classics of the past, yet at the same time packed with the classic Rioja virtues of gentle, brimmingly ripe fruits, warmth, glowing richness, supple tannins and understated but guiding acidity. It’s absolutely accessible now, yet a few years will help ease back the focus and force of the fruits to the benefit of further gentleness and a still warmer glow. Alc 14%

Bodegas Baigorri, De Garage 2017

Platinum, 97 points
Splendid baked plum and dark chocolate bouquet. There’s a satisfying density to the dark fruit character with fabulous concentration and a pleasant silky texture as the wine moves across the palate. Has depth and balance, can go a long way and will only get better. A ripper of an ultra-modern Rioja. Alc 14.5%

Bodegas Campillo, 57 Selección Especial 2015

Platinum, 97 points
Oaky, toasty, caramel and butterscotch aromatics. A complex, elegant, fresh, pure, energetic and multi-layered Rioja with a full suite of coffee bean, chocolate, red and black fruit flavours balanced by velvety tannins and refreshing acidity on its long, satisfying palate. Still a baby for 2015, with a rosy future. Alc 14.5%

Bodegas Ondarre, Mayor de Ondarre, Reserva 2017

Platinum, 97 points
Rolling, elegant and complex with a resplendent coconut, blackberry, plum and vanilla oak bouquet. Polished oak on the palate with some leafy dark berries, strawberry and black raspberry elements. Mouth-filling, refined tannins rev up, with touches of coffee and chocolate mocha on the lingering finish. Alc 14%

Bodegas Amaren, Angeles de Amaren 2017

Gold, 96 points
Elegant creamy and spicy bouquet. Intense, powerful and energetic palate with impressive, round, ripe and sweet tannins, juicy concentration and a long, grippy finish. This is a muscular wine that still has ample fruit and is one of those Riojas that change each time you return to the glass. Alc 14.5%

Bodegas Olarra, Clásico, Reserva 2018

Gold, 96 points
Focused leather, beetroot, vanilla, clove, cranberry and cassis compote aromatics. The palate is rich and dense but not overwhelming, with ripe, polished tannins, mocha spice and some complex umami notes of soy, salted plum, and ramen. A wine to savour — pure class — with a long, spicy finish. Alc 14%

Marqués de Riscal, X R, Reserva 2017

Gold, 96 points
Beautiful nose, with strawberries and black pepper. Hints of flowers and toast in the background. On the palate, it’s so delicate and elegant, but also with a great structure and volume. Both delicate and powerful, this is a wonderful — and quite irresistible — wine. Alc 14.5%

Señorio de Libano, Digma, Reserva 2016

Gold, 96 points
Profuse black fruit aromatics, with a touch of liquorice, anise and orange blossom; juicy and savoury on the palate, with a gentle grainy bite to the texture. Bay laurel, cumin, coconut and green olive flavours explode in the mouth. Very long, complex and elegant finish; superb ageing potential. Alc 14%

Hacienda El Ternero, Reserva 2014

Gold, 96 points
Intriguing scents of spice, black fruit and dried flowers. Lovely structure: so dense and powerful while keeping such charm and softness with bay leaf, mocha and cranberry flavours. A style that plays more on the mouthfeel than the aromatics. Delicate, savoury and ethereal with a very long, memorable finish. Alc 14%

Bodegas Perica, Oro, Reserva 2012

Gold, 96 points
A great expression of classic Rioja with a complex nose showing ripe cherries, blueberries, plums, dried herbs, mocha, oak, cigar box, coffee and cedar. Extra layers of polished tannins combine with a mature fruity, spicy and floral charge. Great wine with a prosperous life ahead. Alc 14%

Martínez Lacuesta, Reserva 2012

Gold, 96 points
Classic and delicious showing tertiary notes of cigar box, incense, old leather, cigar box and tomato leaf. The palate is silky with well-handled oak, a vibrant rail of fresh acidity and mellow, integrated tannins. Complex wine and very representative of classic Rioja. Alc 13.8%

Altanza, Gran Reserva 2015

Gold, 96 points
Beautiful and deep Gran Reserva. You can really taste classicism here. It has an elegant texture, well-integrated tannins, lots of complexity and notes of roasted fruits, sweet spices, cigar box, dried herbs and sweet oak. Fresh acidity enlivens the vivid, spicy and impressively long finish. Alc 14%

Ribera del Duero

Bodegas Portia, Roble 2020

Value Platinum, 97 points
Beckoning nose of dark fruits, spice and judicious oak. The palate has a silky texture and a firm, dryish finish. This is a stellar young wine with outstanding concentration (for the price) and massive tannins tucked neatly into juicy fruit that will appeal to big red wine lovers. Superb value. Alc 14.5%

Cruz de Alba, Finca Los Hoyales 2016

Platinum, 97 points
A powerful, full-bodied wine with lots of expensive bready and yeasty oak on the nose, which makes you sit up and take notice. In the mouth black fruits, herbs, vanilla, chocolate and spice are decorously coupled with ripe, integrated tannins and bright acidity. Bound to prosper. Alc 14.5%

Bodegas Peñafiel, Miros de Ribera, Reserva 2017

Gold, 96 points
Powerful but poised aromas of vanilla spice, ripe black cherries and coconut, with touches of baking spices and violets. Lots going on here, with nuance and complexity at every turn. Round and inviting in the mouth, with a good structure, brisk acidity and well-integrated tannins. Lovely potential. Alc 15%


Bodegas Mazas, Mazas Roble 2020

Value Best in Show, 97 points
We haven’t welcomed Toro to our Best In Show selection in the past, but the sheer power and exuberance of its celebrated Tempranillo strain (Tinta de Toro) has often attracted our judges’ attention as we hunt down silvers and golds. This wine puts all of that generosity into the glass, but does so at a price that qualifies for a Value Best In Show: a combination that’s hard to resist. It has been oaked, but not with the wild exuberance of some of its pricier peers: look for damson and bramble fruits to come singing out of a glass of this dark, almost-black wine. Like most Toro, it’s gratifyingly soft in the mouth but texturally rich for all that: creamy and coaxing. It’s hard not to sprawl and wallow in all of that luscious damson and bramble darkness, but soft, discreet acidity combines with the plush tannins to stop the wine cloying. Alc 14.5%

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