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Top DWWA Tempranillo wines

To celebrate International Tempranillo Day, we highlight the highest scoring Tempranillo wines, all 97 points, from the 2023 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 see the top Tempranillo wines of DWWA 2023


Results from this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) are exemplar of this experimentation and growth of plantings worldwide, with award-winning examples coming from Australia, Argentina and Chile to China, Mexico, Portugal and the US.

Spain, however, remains Tempranillo’s mainstay with over 700 wines – varietal or blended – awarded a medal at DWWA 2023.

All of the competition’s top-scoring Tempranillo wines come from Rioja and Ribera del Duero, with Calatayud also receiving a 95-point Gold for San Gregorio, El Vergal 2021. The judges noted the wine’s velvety and soft texture, as well as its very characteristic red fruit aromas. 

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 a wide and varied list of award-winning Tempranillo wines from the DWWA 2023, we highlight the competition’s 97-point wines well worth discovering.

DWWA 2023: Top Tempranillo wines

Rioja 

Bodegas Ysios, Finca Lagunazuri 2018

Best in Show, 97 points
The second of our two 2018 Best in Show Rioja wines is a pure Tempranillo. It’s dark black-red in colour; indeed it’s almost opaque at its core. This admirably scented wine is deep and brooding at this stage, both earthy and perfumed; the fruits are still covered by the puppy fat of youth, yet it’s a measure of their depth and profundity that there are no evidently oaky notes, despite the wine’s relative youth. On the palate, the wine is deep, dense, earthy and structured, with ample yet softly textured tannins darkening the black Tempranillo fruits still further. This generously structured yet sensually alluring Rioja has the capacity to age for a further ten years. Alcohol 15%

Ramón Bilbao, Lalomba Finca Ladero 2018

Best in Show, 97 points
Two Rioja wines emerged, blinking, into the light of our Top 50 Best in Show this year. Both are from the 2018 vintage — though, in contrast to the situation in France, this was a relatively cool and wet season in Rioja. Not that you’d know it from this blend of 80% Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha: the wine is dark and purposeful, with warm, sweet scents combining ample plum fruits and well-judged oak; it has freshening poise too, though. It’s deeply flavoured on the palate, with ample weight and swing to it. The wine is accessible now but still relatively youthful in style, so another four or five years’ storage seems like to pay dividends. Alc 14.5%

Bodegas Cornelio Dinastía, Vega Vella, Reserva 2014

Platinum, 97 points
Amazing freshness for a nine-year-old. Supremely generous milk chocolate and sweet spice characters are enriched by a glistening redcurrant, cranberry and plum core and punchy, nourishing tannins, all beautifully rewarded with a long minty finish. Alc 14%

Bodegas De La Marquesa, Valserrano, Gran Reserva 2016

Platinum, 97 points
Invitingly warm sun baked red earth, cinnamon strewn plums and mulberries meshed with a sunbeam of fresh acidity, silky tannins and a blood orange and thyme complexity. Boldly structured, youthful and redolent with latent power. Alc 14.5%

Bodegas Faustino, Gran Faustino I, Gran Reserva 2004

Platinum, 97 points
“Classy wine with engaging tobacco, smoke and earthy aromatics. Complex and energetic with spice and red fruit flavours whooshing through the palate in a seductive style. A satisfying aged wine with thrillingly well-integrated new oak and a long, savoury finish.” Alc 13.78%

Bodegas Remírez De Ganuza, Reserva 2012

Platinum, 97 points
Lavish dark forest berries, plums and cherries and a bustle of perfumed florals dance merrily on a palate bedecked with cocoa nibs, tobacco and wood spice. Mouthwateringly delicious and ageing gracefully with a long lasting finish. Alc 14.5%

Herederos Del Marqués De Riscal, Tapias 2020

Platinum, 97 points
Svelte, super plush dark fruit cradled in vanilla, coconut and milk chocolate, with concentrated polished tannins and classy cedar oak nicely tucked in. Ambitious, generous and sublimely long, this wine promises to flourish with age. Alc 15%

Ribera del Duero

Bodega Los Astrales 2019

Platinum, 97 points
Intriguing and highly concentrated with an abundance of ripe berries and cassis, violets and sweet spice beautifully framed by a robust structure and finely tuned acidity. Very powerful and complete with a long life ahead. Alc 15%

Bodegas Balbás, Tempranillo, Reserva 2018

Platinum, 97 points
Enticing fruit and red floral aromas. A modern, muscular style with pronounced ripe tannins and a sweet spicy and toasty character. This wine will reward patient cellaring and is sure to turn an ordinary meal into a magnificent dinner. Alc 15%

Bodegas Bardos, Moradillo De Roa 2020

Platinum, 97 points
Demure fruit enhanced by a savoury saline lift. Youthful and firm with a midpalate flesh which humours the brooding tannic profile and an elegant poise which leaves the mouth refreshed and ready for more. Fabulous! Alc 15%

Pago De Los Capellanes, Doroteo, Ribera del Duero 2018

Platinum, 97 points
The seductive and charming nose combines fruit, oaky spice and violet florals Vibrant on the multi-layered palate with sandy, fine-grained tannins and notes of red cherry, blueberry and earth. The finish is long, persistent and appetising. Alc 15%


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