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For a long while, I associated Tempranillo primarily with La Rioja in Spain. But is also huge in neighbouring Ribero del Duero, a region that has come to prominence over the last 35 years or so. Indeed, Tempranillo (often blended) is grown across the north of Spain (with the exception of the Atlantic region of Riax Baixas). You’ll find it in Cigales, Navarra, Cariñena, and in Catalunya generally (including Penedes).
In some places in Spain, it is called Tinto Fino or Tinto del Pais. It has at least two names in Portugal. Tinta Roriz is probably the most common and this is used as one of the grapes for Port in the Douro and in Alentejo it is called Aragonês (also its name in Brazil). Tinto Roriz crops up in a big way in Argentina where more than 15,000 acres are planted. By contrast, it has a miniscule presence in Chile.
No Rioja wines in the three below. The first is from Ribero, the second from Navarra and the third, a blend, from Valencia. An interesting trio!
Bodegas Felix Callejo Vina Pilar Crianza 2010, Ribero del Duero (DO), 14%, €19.75 Karwig Wines
Ribera del Duero has been called “the modern red wine miracle of northern Spain” by the World Atlas of Wine and it is very well represented here by this Very Highly Recommended wine.
Colour is an intense ruby, with long legs on the glass. Leather and pretty intense dark fruits on the nose. It is full bodied with flavours of fruit, spice, vanilla, with fairly fine tannins, excellent acidity and a long finish.
This comes with quite a name already, having been voted the Gold Star Winner for Old World Red (Under €10.00) in the 2013/14 Irish Wine Show run annually by NOFFLA. Colour is purple tinged, and bright. Aromas bring a rush of red fruits, promising much. And that promise is delivered in the mouth with delicious flavours and some spice; it is a smooth medium bodied wine, tannins are fine and it is fresh with good acidity and decent length. A splendid introduction to Tempranillo, easy-drinking and very good value indeed. Highly Recommended.
A replica Roman coin hangs around the neck of this blend of Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah. It is fermented in new French oak and, in the same wood, aged for 12 months on its lees. Produced by La Casa de les Vides, it is rather intense, both on the nose and on the palate. It is rich, with an excellent mouthfeel, some spice and a persistent satisfying finish. Highly Recommended.