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Introduction to Tempranillo

Introduction to Tempranillo

Discover Tempranillo, the Spanish Wine

As the third most popularly grown grape in the world and one of the nine noble red grapes, Tempranillo is one of the oldest known wine grapes in the world, and it makes some pretty impeccable wines. This Old World, Spanish beauty has a pretty interesting tale to tell, so let’s take a trip across the Atlantic to the Iberian Peninsula to learn a little bit more about the storied Tempranillo.  

History, Origin, and Name Meaning of Tempranillo

When translated, Tempranillo means “little early one” in Spanish. Tempranillo ripens earlier than other grapes, hence the fitting name. It is believed that these early-ripening grapes were brought to the Iberian Peninsula into modern-day Spain by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago, so needless to say, Tempranillos are nothing new to the wine world. It is thought that Tempranillo was introduced to the West in the 17th century by Spanish conquistadors in their travels. Today, 80% of the world’s Tempranillo is grown in Spain, and is most common in the Rioja, Navarra, Douro, and Ribera del Duero regions. 

Tempranillo grapes were brought to the Iberian Peninsula into modern day Spain by the Phoenicians over 3000 years ago - infographicToday, 80% of the world's Tempranillo is grown in Spain

Is Tempranillo a Varietal or a Blend?

Bottles of Tempranillo wine are most often single-varietal, however, this neutral grape is quite versatile and in some regions of Portugal and Spain, Tempranillo is used to create luscious and full-bodied red blends.

Tempranillo is a single-varietal and blended grape

How is Tempranillo Made?

Tempranillo and oak are a match made in heaven, so most bottles of Tempranillo you find will be aged in American or European oak barrels for some amount of time. American oak, which is denser than French oak, is typically preferred because of its stronger flavors of spice and wood sugars. 

Tempranillo is an oak barrel-aged wine

To determine how much time Tempranillo has been aged, there are a few terms to be familiar with: Vin Joven, Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva. This represents a sort of scale that tells how long the Tempranillo has been aged, with Vin Joven having little to no oak aging and Gran Reserva having 18-24 months of aging. If you’re dying to try a Tempranillo on the longer end of the aging scale, be prepared for a heftier price tag! 

Tempranillo is aged for a period of time. Look for terms on the bottle to know how long your wine has been aged, from Gran Reserva (little to no aging), Reserva, Erianza, to Via Joven (18-24 months of aging)

How to Serve Tempranillo

Unlike most red wines, the best way to enjoy Tempranillo and experience its full range of flavors is by serving it slightly chilled at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. A red wine glass is the best drinking vessel for your newly discovered Tempranillo. 

Tempranillo is an amazing food-friendly wine! It’s the perfect partner to a charcuterie board with cured meats and cheese, steak, gourmet burgers, lamb, tomato-based dishes, roasted vegetables, and Mexican food. 

Tempranillo is best served at 60 degrees in a red wine glass (larger bowl)

See, Smell, and Tasting Notes

The color of Tempranillo ranges from a bright, ruby red to a rustier garnet. Tempranillo’s aroma also has quite a variety, with a wide array of scents from strawberries, black currants, and cherries from less oaked varieties to prunes, chocolate, leather, and tobacco from those that have been aged longer. 

The tasting notes of Tempranillo also vary depending on the length of time that it’s been aged. Younger Tempranillos will exhibit notes of red fruit like cherry and sometimes even tomato. Aged Tempranillos will have a deeper, fuller flavor, with notes of plum and leather. 

Tempranillo Wine Tasting Notes
Tempranillo ranges in color from bright ruby to rusty garnet

Tempranillo is a wine with staying power, seeing that it’s been around approximately 3,000 years. But, who’s counting, right? Pour yourself a glass of this time-tested vino, and picture yourself enjoying it while overlooking the Spanish countryside. Cheers!

Rosé of Sangiovese


Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.




Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

Cabernet Sauvignon


If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

Pinot Noir


We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

Coteaux Bourguignons


The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.




A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.


Côtes du Rhône White


This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.


Bordeaux Rouge


When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.


Ventoux Rosé


You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.



Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.


La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.




This grape goes by different names in most European countries, but what remains the same is its fruity floral nature. Delicate in every way and extremely quaffable, this wine is as dainty as they come.



We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.


Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.




For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.


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