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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.

You can try some Tempranillo as part of this 


Details here

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 attractive 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 this variety thrives in a wide range of viticultural environments.

Australian Wineries using Tempranillo

Award winning tempranillo

At the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show in 2020 a total of 48 Tempranillo wines were judged. 6 gold medals, 6 silver medals and 30 bronze medals were awarded.

The gold medal winners were

  • Fox Creek 2020 Limited Release Tempranillo
  • Green Door  2019 El Toro Tempranillo
  • Hedonist Wines  2020 Tempranillo
  • Olivers Tarranga 2018 Tempranillo
  • The Pawn Wine Company 2018 En Passant
  • Wangolina 2017 A Series Tempranillo

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

  • Pindarie 2019 T.S.S. Tempranillo Sangiovese Shiraz 
  • Ricca Terra 2020 Bullets Before Cannonballs 

  • 919 Wines Riverland
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Last Update 6 Jan 2021

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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