Wines That Rock: Tempranillo in the USA

Tempranillo (FINALLY!) Conquers the New World

There must be something about the Spanish setting out to conquer the New World. The Conquistadors butchered their way through the Americas and left a massive mark on Latin American cultures that are still felt today. Today the Spanish are slowly conquering New World wine through their most notable grape, Tempranillo. Its taken a while for Tempranillo to find its way over to vineyards in the United States and a little more time still for those wines to start producing grapes of note. Those who have persisted and championed Tempranillo are being rewarded for their patience and graft, and so are we!

Tempranillo wines are finally starting to come good in the USA

Tempranillo wines are finally starting to come good in the USA

When you think of Tempranillo in the Rioja wines you immediately think of something sexy, leathery, and smoky. Rioja is the ultimate savory wine, rich and hearty, and aged to perfection. For old world wine lovers Rioja is a delight giving you all the sensibilities of Bordeaux at a fraction of the cost. Rioja rocks, its a great wine, how could it possibly be improved?

Like a lot of new world wines Tempranillo does not necessarily improve on the old but rather it offers something completely different. Where the smoky, earthy, savory notes of Rioja are much lauded over Tempranillo wines from Washington, Oregon, and California are altogether much fruitier than their Spanish parents. What we have loved from the few examples that we have drunk recently is this in your face explosion of flavor. There is no holding back with American Tempranillo as if the volume just got turned way up. At the same time the intensity is not overbearing, but rather enjoyable. It makes these wines a lot of fun to drink but also worthy of holding on to if that is your thing and you can wait for these wines to become as refined as a classic rock album played through your turntable. As it turns out that album just so happens to be Master of Reality by Black Sabbath.

Thirsty? Here's what we were drinking:

Fableist 2014 Tempranillo - We totally dig the Fabelist's artistic vibe on the label. Inside is a wine thats banging with berries. This wine is lush, and has an excellent smooth texture to it.

RAM Cellars 2015 Tempranillo - We have been waiting months to get our hands on this, initially thought that CEO Damian was going to bring some back from Oregon but he failed us when ha cancelled his trip. Totally worth it though, because this wine was like a fruit forward smack on the lips. We loved how smooth it was, and started to see a real trend for American Tempranillo here being much fruitier than the Spanish Rioja. If you order online, tell Rodger we sent you!

Holloran 2014 Tempranillo - Holy smokes Batman. This wine is juicy, fruity, and packed all that powerful smoky flavor you would expect from the best Rioja wines without the musty basement tastes. As one friend put it "Oh, I totally get what you mean when you say you taste blackberries now!" Holloran Tempranillo packs a real punch and its delicious.