November 13 was International Tempranillo Day. Thanks to our friends at the Lodi Winegrape Commission, we're sharing the skinny on one of Lodi's most popular and widely planted Spanish grape varieties. Read on for the lowdown on all things Tempranillo...
How it's pronounced: tem-pra-NEE-yoh
How it tastes: Think strawberry, cherry, raspberry and plum; perhaps a touch of blackberry and mulberry. Oak aging adds additional flavors of herbs, mushrooms, leather, tobacco, vanilla and spice.
What its style is: Medium to full bodied with low to medium acidity and medium tannin.
Where it hails from: Tempranillo is indigenous to Spain where it is the most important grape variety and takes its name from the Spanish word temprano, which means to ripen early. It has a preference toward chalky or limestone soils. Tempranillo needs cooler, more moderate conditions to achieve adequate acidity but, simultaneously, needs a good amount of heat to achieve sufficient sugar levels. Lucky for us, Lodi's unique diurnal fluctuation (i.e. warm days, cool nights) and soil types fit this grape's bill!
What its alias' are: Cencibel, Ojo de Liebre, Tinta de Toro, Tinta del Pais, Tinta Fino and Ull de Llebre in Spain and Aragonêz and Tinta Roriz in Portugal.
What it pairs best with: Paella, BBQ beef and chicken, braised oxtail, chicken enchiladas, spicy sausage pasta, lamb ragout or pepperoni pizza. Also Cheddar, Manchego, Cotija, or smoked cheeses.
What its cellar potential is: Most should be enjoyed within a few years of release, but the finest Tempranillo wines (Lodi Tempranillo wines included) can happily occupy your cellar for 10+ years before uncorking.
What Lodi wineries produce it: Bokisch Vineyards, d'Art Wines, Estate Crush, Fields Family Wines, Harney Lane Winery, Heritage Oak Winery, Hux Vineyards, Ironstone, Jeremy Wine Co., Kidder Family Winery, m2 Wines, McConnell Estates Winery, Peirano Estate Vineyards, Riaza Wines, Ripken Vineyards & Winery, St.Amant Winery, St. Jorge Winery, The Dancing Fox Winery, Viaggio Estate & Winery, and Woodbridge Winery.