What is Tempranillo?

Tempranillo is THE red grape of Spain. Central Spain uses it to make bright, juicy reds for drinking now - great low-priced party wines. Further North the same grape makes some of the country's finest wines, in Rioja, and Ribera del Duero.

Rioja is often compared to France's Burgundy. Both regions produce red wines that acquire elegance and complex flavours from ageing in oak barrels; and the best wines then develop further with years of ageing in bottle.

In Portugal, as Tinta Roriz, it is one of the 5 main grapes used in making Port. Further south it is an important variety in the Dão region.

In Argentina's Mendoza region, Tempranillo makes low-priced juicy reds, but also some more complex wines, aged in oak. There are quite a few producers in Australia as well as New Zealand and South Africa, and increasingly winemakers worldwide are experimenting with it. A grape we will be seeing more of outside Spain.

Main characteristics

Colour: red; light garnet

Body: medium-bodied

Tastes: red berries, red cherries, often with aromas of vanilla and cedar from oak barrels

AKA: Tinto Fino (Ribera del Duero); Ull de Llebre (Penedès); Cencibel (Valdepeñas). Portugal: Tinta Roriz (Douro); Aragonez (Dão)

Often blended with: in Rioja, Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan), Graciano. In Penedès, Monastrell (Mourvèdre). In Ribera del Duero, Cabernet Sauvignon

Keep or drink? Follow the price guide. Enjoy low-priced wines now; in general, the more expensive the wine, the longer you can keep it

Price range: From £4.49 for bright, simple reds to £60 and more