By Chuck Hill
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Tempranillo is Spain's answer to Cabernet Sauvignon, producing a medium-
This is the fourth vintage of Tempranillo produced by Lange Winery.
Upon tasting Spanish Tempranillos, Don Lange became convinced that this
was a variety that would do well in Oregon, and he found sources for
fruit in Southern
Domaine Trouvére is a new project at Lange Winery focusing on very small lots of vineyard-specific, terroir-driven wines. [New Dundee tasting room for Domaine Trouvére] Our tasters found this Tempranillo bottling to be very food friendly and flavorful, though the Lange bottling above is richer in depth and texture with more aging potential. Look for aromas of earth and tobacco with a base of dark cherry and vanilla. The palate tingles with red fruit flavors accented by vanilla, smoky earth and floral notes on the finish.
This bright and juicy Tempranillo from Evesham Wood Vineyard near Salem is a superb example of the varietal made in a lighter and very approachable style. Aromas and flavors of earthy berry, dusty floral notes, mineral and hints of vanilla invite another sip, and the wine pairs well with a wide variety of medium- to lighter- bodied food choices.
Like some of the Cabernet Franc Rosés from last week, this bright and zesty wine offers all the refreshing character of the best rosés along with hints of the varietal namesake. Aromas of fresh strawberry, pear, orchard blossom and melon lead to a zippy palate with all of the above plus a refreshing citrus finish with hints of earth and mineral. Summer's not over yet!
Earl Jones is generally credited with introducing Tempranillo into the mainstream of Northwest premium wine production at his Abacela winery near Roseburg, Oregon. This bottling is a blend of Tempranillo from the Estate Fault Line Vineyard in Roseburg and well-respected McCorquodale Vineyard in the Umpqua Valley. Intriguing aromas of spicy plum, dusty cherry, herbal dark fruits and floral perfume lead to flavors of blueberry, cherry and hints of vanilla on the finish.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Is this the Tempranillo Riserva that never sees American shores, and is kept in the cellars of Spain's wealthy until it matures? Only time will tell. Unlike many Tempranillo wines of the New World, this bottling has the dense fruit character to stand up to new oak and long barrel aging. On the nose you'll find earthy vanilla and cassis with notes of smoke and spice. On the palate, you'll smack your tongue on flavors of oaky cherry and blackcurrant with caramel, vanilla and chewy tannins that need two or more years to soften and meld to be served to the royalty at your table.
Valley View Vineyards - home of the Anna Maria label wines - is arguably the oldest continuously-operating wine operation in Southern Oregon. Begun in 1972, the Wisnovsky family has farmed the Applegate Valley south of Grants Pass and produced many excellent wines from estate and purchased fruit. This bright and flavorful Tempranillo shows aromas of strawberry, mint, sweet herbs and vanilla leading to a medium palate of tangy berry, herb and vanilla - a high-scoring wine with our tasting panel.
Brian Carter Cellars
Master of blends in the Columbia Valley, Brian Carter has more than 25 Washington vintages under his belt. This Spanish-style blend is comprised of 66% Tempranillo, 17% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Grenache. Merlot and Cabernet have been used as blending wines for Tempranillo in Spain for more than 100 years, and Garnacha is the most planted grape in that country. Look for complex fruit aromas of blackberry and cherry with notes of anise, herbs and rose petal. The palate is concentrated with juicy berry fruit flavors accented by cocoa, vanilla and herbs.
This is Thurston Wolfe's third vintage of Tempranillo. It is crafted from Tempranillo fruit grown at Destiny Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills along with 10% Grenache (Mercer Canyon Vineyard, HHH) and 8% Syrah from the Thurston Wolfe Estate Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. Aromas and flavors of dark fruits mingle with toasty vanilla and hints of coconut from aging in American oak, one-third new. It is a lip-smacking accompaniment to meat with chimichurri.
The Delfino family vineyards are located in the Umpqua Valley of Southern Oregon, where owners Jim and Terri Delfino also are the hosts at a unique rental guest cottage on the property. Their Umpqua Valley Tempranillo offers aromas and flavors of cran-cherry, vanilla and spicy white flowers with hints of herbs and smoky oak.
Desert Wind Winery
From grapes grown on the sunny Wahluke Slope, this Tempranillo shows the Washington style of ripe and hearty wine, bursting with blueberry and blackberry wrapped in layers of spicy, toasty oak. The winery suggests pairing with Spanish-inspired tapas or rich pasta dishes.
Three Brothers Winery
Dan Anderson and the other brothers are the driving force behind Three
Vineyard and Winery near the town of Ridgefield in Southwest Washington
(see map of this
Their 2009 Tempranillo offers ripe raspberry, rhubarb and vanilla aromas
to a palate of fruit flavors wrapped in spicy oak.
Wines from other areas
Ergo - Martin Codax
This was the top-rated wine at our Tempranillo tasting, owing its popularity to complex, bright aromas and flavors of raspberries, cherries, toasty vanilla, herbs and hints of cedar. This classic Rioja is a blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnarcha and is truly a best buy!
This Rioja winery has been making wine since 1882, crafting a wide variety of bottlings ranging from light and youthful to more serious reserve wines. This tempting sipper has seen minimal oak aging, preserving flavors and aromas of red berries and vanilla with notes of plum and herb.
Here's another choice for a light and affordable Rioja for your late-summer picnics and barbecues. Blended with 60% Tempranillo, 20% Carignan, 15% Graciano and 5% Garnacha, this version offers slightly more oomph on the palate with rich flavors of dark cherry, berry, toasty oak, vanilla and a finish of velvety tannins.
Clayhouse Estate produces this reserve-style Tempranillo from grapes grown at Red Cedar Vineyard in Paso Robles. The wine offers a much bigger style than imported Tempranillos (Rioja) showing intense aromas of boysenberry, cherry, floral notes, vanilla and spicy oak. Carry these flavors over to the palate and add notes of smoky vanilla and caramel. This popular American style may cause some heads to shake in Northern Spain, but power wine drinkers appreciate a sip to sink their teeth into.