Tempranillo Wine in Australia

The most successful of the red wines introduced into Australia over the past two decades

Tempranillo Grapes being crushed in Victoria's Alpine Valleys Wine RegionMayford Wines in the Alpine Valleys region of Victoria are one of the pioneers of Australian Tempranillo. They started with a very small batch

Tempranillo is the premium red wine grape variety from the Rioja Region in Spain. It is also grown in many other regions of Spain.

In Spain the Tempranillo wine grape variety is the backbone of the wines of the Rioja and the Ribera del Duero regions in Northern and Central Spain. In these regions it is often blended with varieties such as Graciano, Grenache or Cabernet sauvignon playing a minor role. It makes up about 60% of Ribera del Duero's famous Vega Sicilia, the Spanish equivalent to Grange.

Some Tempranillo wines are intended to be consumed while they are young, in which case they are referred to as being the joven style. The Spanish term crianza refers to aged wines. In very good years Spanish wineries make a reserva intended for extended ageing.

In Portugal the variety is used as a minor component in port, and increasingly in red table wines.

But now Tempranillo wine is being made in many Australian wine regions from the Granite Belt in Queensland to the King Valley in Victoria to McLaren Vale and the Barossa to Geographe and Margaret River in Western Australia.

Tempranillo Around the world

Tempranillo is grown in many Spanish wine regions and is grown in Portugal under the name Tinta Roriz.

Other synonyms include Aragonez, Cencibel, Tinto Fino, Tinto Madrid, Grenache de Logrono, Tinto de la Rioja, Tinto de toro, Jacivera, Tempranilla, Ull de Llebre, Tinta Roriz, Tinto de Santiago.

Tempranillo is rapidly gaining followers around the world and plantings of the variety are growing rapidly as the chart below shows.  Most of the new plantings are in Spain where Temp is replacing the workhorse white wine variety Airen.

Elsewhere in the world the major plantings are in Argentina and California. In the latter region it is called Valdepenas and is regarded as a unsuitable for making fine wine.

Most of the Australian plantings are new.  For more detail see the article The Rising Tide of Tempranillo

Tempranillo ws the most rapidly expanding wine grape grown in the 2000-2010 decadeWorldwide increases in plantings of Tempranillo outstripping all other wine grape varieties.

What makes this variety so exciting?

Well, it makes wines which have good colour and good fruit flavours along with low acid and low tannins. The middle palate is just full of interesting fruit flavours. This adds up to an easy drinking style of wine that matches very well with a range of foods.

The wine also goes well with American oak, a fact which many winemakers are exploring in Australia. In the vineyard the variety has a short growing season which makes it suitable for cooler areas.

Tempranillo's home, Rioja, is an inland region of Spain with a continental climate. (see this map for a thorough understanding of Spanish wine regions) This has lead to some people speculating that it is quite suitable for inland Australian regions such The Canberra or Orange wine regions.

But experience has shown that the variety thrives in a wide range of viticultural environments.

Australian Wineries using Tempranillo

Award winning tempranillo

At the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show in 2018 a total of 61 Tempranillo wines were judged.

11 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 18 bronze medals were awarded.

The gold medal winners were

  • Coulter Wines  2018 C4 Experimental SA Tempranillo
  • Billy Button 2017 Flame Robin*
  • Hedonist Wines  2018 Tempranillo
  • Hogs in the Woods 2017 Tempranillo
  • Mayford Wines 2017 Tempranillo
  • Peter Lehman  2017 Hill & valleyTempranillo
  • S C Pannell 2016 Tempranillo
  • Serafino 2018 Bellissimo Tempranillo
  • Tonon Vineyard 2015 Xavier Tempranillo
  • Wangolina 2017 Tempranillo
  • Willow Bridge 2017 Solana Tempranillo

In addition ten Tempranillo dominant blended wines were judged, for two gold medals, three silver medals and two bronzes.

  • De Bortoli 2017 Villages Tempranillo Touriga
  • Big Easy Radio 2016 Cosmic Antennae

*This wine did not actually get a gold because technically it didn't qualify.  It was however judged to be of gold standard and received VHC Very Highly commended award.

  • 919 Wines Riverland
  • A Rodda Wines Beechworth
  • Alejandro Riverland
  • All Saints Estate Rutherglen
  • Alpha Box and Dice McLaren Vale
  • Amadio Adelaide Hills
  • Amato Vino Margaret River
  • Anderson Winery Rutherglen
  • Andrew Peace Wines Swan Hill
  • Angelicus Geographe
  • Angoves Winery Riverland
  • Angullong Wines Orange
  • Aravina Margaret River
  • Arete Barossa Valley
  • Artemis Wines Southern Highlands
  • Artwine Clare Valley
  • Atika Yarra Valley
  • Atze's Corner Wines Barossa Valley
  • Audrey Wilkinson Hunter Valley
  • Badgers Brook Yarra Valley Yarra Valley
  • Bakkheia Geographe
  • Banrock Station Riverland
  • Barossa Valley Estate Barossa Valley
  • Basalt Henty
  • Beechworth Wine Estates Beechworth
  • Bella Ridge Estate Swan District
  • Bellwether Coonawarra
  • Bent Creek Vineyards McLaren Vale
  • Bent Road Granite Belt
  • Between the Vines Adelaide Hills
  • Bidgeebong Wines Gundagai
  • Big Easy Radio McLaren Vale
  • Bilgavia Wines Hunter Valley
  • Billy Button Alpine Valleys
  • Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills
  • Bittern Estate Mornington Peninsula
  • BK Wines Riverland
  • Blaxland Wine Group Barossa Valley
  • Bleasdale Langhorne Creek
  • Blewitt Springs McLaren Vale
  • Blue Poles Vineyard Margaret River
  • Boggy Creek Vineyards King Valley
  • Born and Raised Heathcote
  • Brandy Creek Wines Gippsland
  • Briar Ridge Vineyard Hunter Valley
  • Brookside Perth Hills
  • Brown Brothers King Valley
  • Brown Brothers King Valley
  • Bullers Calliope Rutherglen
  • Bunkers Margaret River
  • Bunmagoo Central Ranges Zone
  • Burrendulla Mudgee
  • Byrne and Smith McLaren Vale
  • Calabria Family Wines Riverina
  • Campbells Wines Rutherglen
  • Cape Barren Wines McLaren Vale
  • Capel Vale Geographe
  • Capital Wines Canberra
  • Caravino Swan Valley
  • Carlaminda Estate Geographe
  • Carldenn Homestead Wines Perth Hills
  • Carn Estate Murray Darling
  • Casella Riverina
  • Castelli Estate Denmark
  • Caudo Vineyard Riverland
  • Centennial Vineyards Southern Highlands
  • Ceres Bridge Estate Geelong
  • Chalk Hill Winery McLaren Vale
  • Chalkers Crossing Hilltops
  • Chapel Hill McLaren Vale
  • Chrismont King Valley
  • Ciavarella King Valley
  • Clarence House Southern Tasmania
  • Coal Valley Vineyard Southern Tasmania
  • Collector Wines Canberra
  • Comyns and Co Hunter Valley
  • Corymbia Swan Valley
  • Coulter Wines Barossa Valley
  • Crabtree of Watervale Clare Valley
  • Crittenden Estate Mornington Peninsula
  • Cupitt's Winery Shoalhaven Coast
  • D'Arenberg McLaren Vale
  • Dalfarras Nagambie Lakes
  • De Iulius Hunter Valley
  • Del Rios Geelong
  • Dell'uva Wines  Barossa Valley
  • Di Giorgio Coonawarra
  • Dimbulla Hunter Valley
  • Dionysus Winery Canberra
  • Doc Adams McLaren Vale
  • Dogrock Winery Pyrenees
  • Dolan Family Wines Barossa Valley
  • Domaine De Binet Hunter Valley
  • Domlina Geelong
  • Donovan Wines Grampians
  • Dormilona Margaret River
  • Dowie Doole McLaren Vale
  • Drakesbrook Wines Peel
  • Dryridge Estate Central Ranges Zone
  • Eaglerange Wines Alpine Valleys
  • Edgecombe Orange
  • Epsilon Barossa Valley
  • Ernest Hill Wines Hunter Valley
  • ess&see McLaren Vale
  • Farmer and the Scientist Heathcote
  • Feathertop Alpine Valleys
  • Ferguson Falls Winery Geographe
  • Fifth Estate Geographe
  • Fighting Gully Road Beechworth
  • Firebox Ridge Swan Hill
  • First Creek Hunter Valley
  • First Drop Barossa Valley
  • First Ridge Mudgee
  • Fox Gordon Barossa Valley
  • Freeman Vineyards Hilltops
  • Galafrey Mount Barker
  • Galli Estate Heathcote
  • Gapsted Alpine Valleys
  • Gatt Barossa Valley
  • Gemtree Vineyards McLaren Vale
  • Geographe Wines Geographe
  • Gibson Barossa Valley
  • Glandore Estate Hunter Valley
  • Golden Grove Estate Granite Belt
  • Graham Stevens Wines McLaren Vale
  • Grampians Estate Grampians
  • Granite Hills Macedon Ranges
  • Granite Ridge Wines Granite Belt
  • Green Door Wines Geographe
  • Hakkheia Geographe
  • Hand Crafted by Geoff Hardy McLaren Vale
  • Happs Margaret River
  • Hare's Chase Barossa Valley
  • Harewood Estate Denmark
  • Hastwell and Lightfoot McLaren Vale
  • Hay Shed Hill Wines Margaret River
  • Heathcote Winery Heathcote
  • Hedberg Hill Orange
  • Heirloom Vineyards McLaren Vale
  • Hemera Estate Barossa Valley
  • Henschke Eden Valley
  • Hently Farm Wines Barossa Valley
  • Heritage Estate Granite Belt
  • Hesketh Wines Barossa Valley
  • Hewitson Barossa Valley
  • Hickinbotham Mornington Peninsula
  • Hidden Creek Granite Belt
  • High Country King Valley
  • Higher Plane Margaret River
  • Hill River Estate Clare Valley
  • Hither and Yon McLaren Vale
  • Hollick Wines Coonawarra
  • Honey Moon Vineyard Adelaide Hills
  • Hotham Ridge Winery Peel
  • Houlaghans Valley Wines Gundagai
  • Hugh Hamilton McLaren Vale
  • Hungerford Hill Hunter Valley
  • Inkwell McLaren Vale
  • Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley
  • Ironbark Hill Estate Hunter Valley
  • Island Brook Margaret River
  • Jack Estate Coonawarra
  • Jericho Adelaide Hills
  • Jilly Wines New England
  • Juniper Estate Margaret River
  • K1 by Geoff Hardy Adelaide Hills
  • Kaesler Barossa Valley
  • Kalleske Wines Barossa Valley
  • Kangaroo Hills Macedon Ranges
  • Keith Tulloch Wine Hunter Valley
  • Kellermeister Wines Barossa Valley
  • Kellivale Geographe
  • Kelman Vineyard Hunter Valley
  • Killiecrankie Bendigo
  • Kirrihill Estates Clare Valley
  • Krinklewood Hunter Valley
  • Kurrrajong Estate Hunter Valley
  • La Bise Adelaide Hills
  • La Cantina King Valley King Valley
  • La La Land Murray Darling
  • La Linea Adelaide Hills
  • Lady Bay Winery Southern Fleurieu
  • Lake Geroge Canberra
  • Lambert Estate Barossa Valley
  • Landaire Padthaway
  • Landhaus Estate Adelaide Hills
  • Larry Cherubino Margaret River
  • Lazzar Wines Mornington Peninsula
  • Leogate Estate Hunter Valley
  • Lethbridge Wines Geelong
  • Lillypilly Estate Riverina
  • Lion Mill Vineyards Perth Hills
  • Little Wine Company Hunter Valley
  • Lobethal Road Wines Adelaide Hills
  • Lockwood Vineyards Hilltops
  • Logan Wines Mudgee
  • Main and Cherry Adelaide Hills
  • Mallee Estate Riverland
  • Mansfield Wines Mudgee
  • Margan Family Hunter Valley
  • Marq Margaret River
  • Matriarch and Rogue Clare Valley
  • Maximus Wines McLaren Vale
  • Mayford Wines Alpine Valleys
  • Mazza Geographe
  • McHenry Hohnen Margaret River
  • Merilba Estate New England
  • Merindoc Heathcote
  • Millbrook Winery Perth Hills
  • Mimosa South Coast Zone
  • Ministry of Clouds McLaren Vale
  • Mongrel Vineyard Mudgee
  • Montalto Vineyards Mornington Peninsula
  • Morrisons of Glenrowan Glenrowan
  • Mount Avoca Pyrenees
  • Mount Broke Wines Hunter Valley
  • Mount Burrumboot Estate Heathcote
  • Mount Charlie Winery Macedon Ranges
  • Mount Majura Canberra
  • Mount Trio Vineyard Porongurup
  • Mr Mick Clare Valley
  • Mr Riggs Wine Company McLaren Vale
  • Mt Bera Adelaide Hills
  • Mt Billy Southern Fleurieu
  • Mundrakoona Estate Southern Highlands
  • Muster Wine Company Barossa Valley
  • Myattsfield Vineyard and Winery Perth Hills
  • Nannup Ridge Blackwood Valley
  • Nashdale Lane WInes Orange
  • Nashwauk McLaren Vale
  • Nepenthe Adelaide Hills
  • Next Crop Wines Langhorne Creek
  • Ngeringa Adelaide Hills
  • Noble Red Heathcote
  • O'Leary Walker Clare Valley
  • Oatley Wines Mudgee
  • Oats Ends Margaret River
  • Olive Farm Swan District
  • Olive Hills Estate Rutherglen
  • Olivers Taranga McLaren Vale
  • Optimiste Mudgee
  • Oxenbury Farm McLaren Vale
  • Pandemonium Estate Swan Valley
  • Pankhurst Wines Canberra
  • Paracombe Wines Adelaide Hills
  • Paul Conti Wines Greater Perth Zone
  • Paul Nelson Wines Denmark
  • Paulmara Estate Barossa Valley
  • Paxton McLaren Vale
  • Peacetree Estate Margaret River
  • Peel Ridge Peel
  • Pengally Lane Wines Bendigo
  • Pertaringa McLaren Vale
  • Peter Lehmann Barossa Valley
  • Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen
  • Piano Piano Beechworth
  • Pikes Clare Valley
  • Pindarie Wines Barossa Valley
  • Plan B Frankland River
  • Pokolbin Estate Hunter Valley
  • Pondalowie Bendigo
  • Quarry Hill Wines Canberra
  • Quattro Mano Barossa Valley
  • Quoin Hill Pyrenees
  • Ravens Croft Wines Granite Belt
  • Red Earth Estate Western Plains
  • Red Edge Heathcote
  • Reilly's Wines Clare Valley
  • Remarkable View Winery Southern Flinders Region
  • Renzaglia Central Ranges Zone
  • Rewine King Valley
  • Ridgemill Estate Granite Belt
  • Risky Business Margaret River
  • Riverbank Estate Swan Valley
  • Romantic Vineyard Pyrenees
  • Rookery Wines Kangaroo Island
  • Ros Ritchie Upper Goulburn
  • Rosabrook Margaret River
  • Ross Hill Wines Orange
  • Rusty Fig Wines South Coast Zone
  • Rutherglen Estates Rutherglen
  • Rymill Coonawarra Coonawarra
  • Salena Estate Riverland
  • Saltram Barossa Valley
  • Sam Miranda Wines King Valley
  • Samuels Gorge McLaren Vale
  • Sanguine Estate Heathcote
  • Savina Lane Granite Belt
  • SC Pannell McLaren Vale
  • Serafino Wines McLaren Vale
  • Sevens Select Riverland
  • Seville Hill Yarra Valley
  • Sherrah McLaren Vale
  • Shingleback McLaren Vale
  • Sidewood Estate Adelaide Hills
  • Silver Spoon Wines Heathcote
  • Sittella Swan Valley
  • Smallfry Wines Barossa Valley
  • Snake and Herring Margaret River
  • Sons of Eden Barossa Valley
  • Spook Hill Wines Riverland
  • St Hallett Barossa Valley
  • Stakehill Estate Peel
  • Stanton and Killeen Wines Rutherglen
  • Stella Bella Margaret River
  • Stockman's Ridge Orange
  • Stuart Wines Heathcote
  • Summit Estate Granite Belt
  • Surveyor's Hill Winery Canberra
  • Sutherland Estate Yarra Valley
  • Swinney Frankland River
  • Switch Currency Creek
  • Symphonia King Valley
  • Symphony Hill Wines Granite Belt
  • Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes
  • Talijancich Swan Valley
  • Tallagandra Hill Canberra
  • Tallavera Grove Winery Hunter Valley
  • Tar and Roses Nagambie Lakes
  • Tarzali Strathbogie Ranges
  • Taylors Clare Valley
  • TeAro Barossa Valley
  • Tempus Two Hunter Valley
  • Tenafeate Creek Wines Adelaide Plains
  • The Little Wine Company Hunter valley
  • The Overflow Queensland Zone
  • The Pawn Wine Company Adelaide Hills
  • Three Dams Estate Heathcote
  • Tim Adams Clare Valley
  • Tim Gramp Clare Valley
  • Tipperary Estate South Burnett
  • Tobin Wines Granite Belt
  • Tokar Estate Yarra Valley
  • Tonon Vineyard and Winery Perth Hills
  • Toppers Mountain New England
  • Torzi Matthews Eden Valley
  • Trahna Rutherglen Wines Rutherglen
  • Traviati Beechworth
  • Trelawney Clare Valley
  • Trifon Estate Goulburn valley
  • Tscharke Barossa Valley
  • Tuck's Ridge Mornington Peninsula
  • Tulloch Hunter Valley
  • Two Dragons Wine Currency Creek
  • Tynan Wines New England
  • Ulithorne McLaren Vale
  • Upper Reach Vineyard Swan Valley
  • Vanden Murray Darling
  • Vasse River Wines Geographe
  • Vinaceous Various
  • Vinden Estate Hunter Valley
  • Vinifera Wines Mudgee
  • Vinous Australia Geelong
  • Wallington Wines Cowra
  • Way Wood Wines McLaren Vale
  • Well Mannered Wines Mudgee
  • Welshmans Reef Vineyard Bendigo
  • West Cape Howe Wines Denmark
  • Whitfield Estate Denmark
  • Wild Orchids Blackwood Valley
  • Willoughby Park Denmark
  • Willow Bridge Estate Geographe
  • Willunga 100 Wines McLaren Vale
  • Wilson Vineyard Clare Valley
  • Windowrie Estate Cowra
  • Windsors Edge Hunter Valley
  • Wines by KT Clare Valley
  • Winter Brook Northern Tasmania
  • Wirra Wirra McLaren Vale
  • Wirrega Vineyard Limestone Coast Zone
  • Witchmount Estate Sunbury
  • Woodgate Wines Manjimup
  • Woodstock McLaren Vale
  • Woody Nook Margaret River
  • Wrattonbully Vineyards Wrattonbully
  • Yacca Paddock Vineyards Adelaide Hills
  • Yalumba Wine Company Eden Valley
  • Yangarra Estate McLaren Vale
  • Yarra Yering Yarra Valley
  • Zappa Wines New England
  • Zonte's Footstep Langhorne Creek
Updated 3 March 2020

Tempranillo and food

The obvious food pairing with Tempranillo wine is to go with Spanish style dishes. A lighter bodied Tempranillo would go well with tapas, those delightful little snacks that originally were designed for accompanying sherry. A little plate of olives, a few marinated mushrooms, some prawns and a few slices of Chorizo sausage may be just what is needed.

The Spanish also love jamon, dry cured ham. Many bars in Spain have dozens of country style hams hanging up and there is always a ham in a special rack ready to be thinly carved for a snack to accompany a glass of wine.

Sheep farming is a major industry in the Rioja and the Ribera del Duero regions. Hence grilled and especially roast lamb are local specialties, as well as the ideal accompaniment to Tempranillo.

Evan Goldstein in his excellent book Daring Pairings suggests Rack of Lamb with Creamy Rice and Parsnips as a food pairing idea for this wine

Sheep milk cheeses, roast stuffed peppers and vegetable casseroles would also be enhanced by a glass or two of these fine wines.

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