From the land of Don Quixote comes the sixth most widely planted variety on the planet. The Tempranillo grapevine grows so well in some parts of Texas, it is likely to become the “National Grape of Texas”.
According to Kim McPherson, winemaker and owner of McPherson Cellars, located in Lubbock, Tempranillo is ”one of Spain’s native grapes, a black variety. It comes from the Spanish word temprano, meaning early, because it ripens earlier than most Spanish red grapes. It’s best when drunk young, rather than aged.”
Cindy and I invited to our house a few friends and neighbors to sit by the pit fire and enjoy a few bottles of our Tempranillo, both young and old. We put to the test the theory that this wine is best when drunk young.
Our first wine was 2009 Spicewood Temranillo made by Jeff Ivy. The aged wine had very soft tannins and was very balanced. The color was a deep ruby red. The typical Tempranillo boldness had laid down to smooth and mellow fruity tones, almost to a fault. Once we finished that bottle, we moved to younger Tempranillo wines from Blue Ostrich, Pillar Bluff and Landon Winery. The younger wines were big and bold, just as expected. We served the wines with an assortment of spicy appetizers that complemented the wines very well. Of the three young wines, the guests unanimously chose the 2010 Landon Tempranillo Reserve as their favorite.
About Tempranillo - Indigenous to Spain but growing really well in Texas, the Tempranillo grape makes a wine that is ruby-red in color and deeply flavored. It ages really well. This varietal features predominant flavors of dark cherries, spice, tobacco and berries. Generally low in acid levels and alcohol content, Tempranillo is often blended with other grapes varietals to create sensuous, richly flavored wines. It is considered a full-bodied red with heavy tannins when young.
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