Tempranillo is an important grape in the Spanish wine industry. It has a large role in the wines of Rioja where it is used to make medium to full bodied reds in a savoury style.
Its a relatively new variety to Australia which I personally think will find acceptance quickly in our market. At the moment, the questions winemakers are asking are things like where should we be growing it?
Our Tempranillo vineyard is in Orange where the variety seems quite happy. I still have limited experience with it, but my thoughts are at the moment that making Tempranillo is a bit like cooking a choko. On that note, I saw Gordon Ramsey once presented with a choko. He turned it around in his hands for about 15 seconds before saying “What the ______ this? It looks like Shreks shit!” Anyhow, back to cooking chokos. As a kid growing up with a grand father who had lived through two world wars and the great depression we did of course have choko vines growing on the fence in case we had no money to buy food. In fact, we weren’t allowed to plant plants at home unless they bore a crop. There were no free rides while my grand father was calling the shots.
Mum used to peel the chokos, cut them in half and boil them for an unspecified amount of time (maybe they went on when dad left for work? Im not sure.)They would then be presented to us kids who would scoop as much butter on to them as we could then cover them in salt and pepper. And you know what? If you put enough salt, pepper and butter on a boiled choko its actually pretty good. I even used to request them.
So, with Tempranillo, the salt and pepper for me is Shiraz and Grenache. I find about 7% big Shiraz and 7% Grenache off our old vineyard (the Grenache vineyard was planted in 1897) deepens the colour, lifts the nose and puts the whole thing right. Tempranillo is a great wine to use a the foundations for a blend, but on its own its a boiled choko I reckon.
This is a seriously smart wine. Lovely fruit and an elegant palate. If there’s half a bottle open at the end of the day you can bet your bottom dollar the staff will claim it will be oxidised by morning and offer to take it home and dispose of it quietly.