Everyone has heard the name Rioja but rarely do people know what Tempranillo is.
They are one and the same - or rather they aren't!
Rioja is a wine region in northern Spain that produces wines that are Tempranillo based.
Tempranillo is Pinot Noir's dusty little Spanish cousin. The two are very similar in terms of their body and flavours but Tempranillo brings a lit of ruggedness to the mix. Don't be put off however, Tempranillo based wines can be incredible and are a totally different drink than Pinot Noir.
Incredibly easy to drink although often vintage specific, these wines are the perfect food partner or an easy quaff on their own.
Light to Medium bodied with medium tannin and medium acidity.
Does really well with oak although has been over oaked in the past. Unoaked versions deliver fresh fruit and crispness.
Can be high in alcohol depending where it is grown.
Red fruit, cherry, plum, tomato
Leather, fresh tobacco, vanilla, clove, spice, "dust"
Tinto de Toro, Tinta Fino,Tinto del Pais, Tinta Roriz, Aragonez, Cencibel, Ull de Llebre
Dried meats, olives, nuts, cheeses - imagine sitting outside a little Spanish tapas bar watching the world go by with a glass in hand and a mixture of this in front of you.
Great with pasta dishes - especially those with tomato based sauces.
Simple grilled meats and fish.
Also does well with spice and heat - chilli, Mexican food.