There’s no doubt about it, Tempranillo is the signature wine grape of Spain. From Rioja to Navarra, and from Ribera del Duero through Toro, La Mancha and the Penedès, it’s the grape that defines Spanish red wine. (It can also be found in countries including Portugal, Argentina and the United States, among others.)
On November 8, the world celebrated International Tempranillo Day, and in light of this global call-out, we offer five things every wine lover should know (but just might not) about this lusty Spanish grape.
It has many monikers. Tempranillo goes by more than a dozen different names around the world, depending on where it’s cultivated. It’s called Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Tinta de Toro in Toro, Ull de Llebre in Catalonia, Cencibel in La Mancha and Tinto Roriz in Portugal.
It has a white mutant. Although rare, albino Tempranillo does exist in Rioja. It’s an approved wine grape; it yields a citrusy, rather simple wine akin to Viognier in weight, flavor and overall style.