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White Tempranillo ‘potential’ in Rioja

A white version of the Tempranillo grape could have great potential in Rioja, according to the director of the Dinastía Vivanco winery.

Regulations that were relaxed last year, allowing Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to be permitted for white Rioja – as long as they comprise no more than 49% of the blend – has also allowed minor varieties to be used, including white Tempranillo, Malvasia, and white Garnacha.

Rafael Vivanco, who is in London to unveil two new single varietals, a Garnacha and a Graciano, told decanter.com that his winery is only one of two in the whole of Rioja with plantings of the rare grape.

‘It is very promising, and this grape only exists in Rioja. It is quite aromatic, but you have to take care of the maturation.

‘It needs to be planted at high altitude. White Tempranillo is not as fresh as Sauvignon Blanc, but it is definitely fresher than Chardonnay.’

Vivanco’s plantings of white Tempranillo will be four years old this year, and the winery has around 100 rows of it in total.

The grape was discovered by a grower in the 1980s, who found a single arm of a 20-year-old Tempranillo vine producing white grapes.

Dinastía Vivanco, which is situated near the town of Briones, opened a wine museum on its grounds in 2004. Exhibits include a collection of more than 3,000 corkscrews.

Written by Stuart Peskett

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