Spain‘s most important quality red variety, forming the backbone of Riojaand Ribera del Duero, where it’s known as Tinto Fino (other synonyms include Ull de Llebre, Tinta del Pais, Tinta de Toro, Cencibel and, in Portugal, Aragonês and Tinta Roriz).
Capable of making juicy young reds as well as serious, well-structured, fine, oak-aged reds with vanilla, tobacco spice and strawberry flavours, usually blended with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano, but sometimes made on its own. One of the major red varieties of Argentina and grown also in Languedoc-Roussillon, California and Australia.
The mainstay of Rioja and a host of other Spanish reds, Tempranillo is a versatile grape which is equally well used to making juicy young strawberryish reds as well as more serious, oak-aged reds with a veneer of vanilla, liquorice and tobacco spice characters overlaying the
strawberry flavours. Like Sangiovese, it can be very savoury, a quality often defined as tobacco leaf, and it becomes leathery with age.