Tempranillo is to Spain what Sangiovese is to Italy. A widely planted and very ‘complete’ grape, Tempranillo offers a handy gamut of red and dark fruit, spice, earth and tobacco notes. More importantly, if grown well it has the tannin structure to make for truly serious, age-worthy reds - whether alone or blended with fruitier varieties like Garnacha (Grenache). Tempranillo dominates the blend of classic Rioja wines, in addition to Ribera del Duero, while remaining important in the rest of Spain and Portugal. Tempranillo has recently made excursions to 'exotic' places like Australia and New Zealand but is mostly established in colonies of Iberian culture, in particular making lush and modern examples from the sunny but elevated vineyards of Argentina.
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