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Tempranillo Tips from the A-Team

Tempranillo is a Spanish grape best known as the main ingredient in that country’s respected Rioja wines. It’s also the basis of Vega Sicilia, arguably Spain’s most famous vino.  Tempranillo wines can have flavors you’d expect in a Cabernet, like dark fruit and mocha, the pepper you might find in a Syrah, and the savory notes and earthy tannins of some Sangioveses. The wines can be light and fruit-forward or fuller bodied and oaky.  In recent decades, plantings of Tempranillo have increased dramatically. According to University of Adelaide researchers, Tempranillo was the world’s fastest-expanding wine grape varietal between 2000 and 2010 with new plantings double that of Cabernet Sauvignon. About 346,000 more acres of the grape were planted worldwide, or about the same area as Australia’s total vineyard coverage, bringing total acres up from about 222,000 to 568,000. Winemakers in countries including Australia, the United States, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico are now making top-notch Tempranillo wines. Spanish versions have also improved in quality, especially the wines coming out of Ribera del Duero and Toro, two regions a couple of hours