Tempranillo grape, a popular variety native to Spain, is the most widely grown red grape variety in the country - forming the backbone of some of the country's best known and celebrated wines such as Rioja and Ribera del Duero. The name Tempranillo is derived from the Spanish word ‘temprano,’ which means ‘early’ - a nod to its characteristic of being one of the first grapes to ripen each season.

Tempranillo grapes are known for their thick skins which contribute to the creation of wine with robust structure and pronounced tannins. The resulting wine tends to have a bright ruby hue, offering flavours of ripe strawberry, cherry, and plum, along with hints of leather, tobacco, and fresh herbs. Adopting tertiary notes of cocoa, vanilla, and toasted almond as they age in oak, Tempranillo wines indeed have a compelling complexity.

Tempranillo grapes do not inherently possess high acid or sugar levels which makes blending common to strike a balance. Varieties such as Garnacha and Carignan are commonly used in these blends. While the Tempranillo grape thrives in a variety of climates, it particularly favours continental climates and high altitudes, which allow the berries to develop a balanced level of acidity.

Spanish wines made from Tempranillo grapes are generally best consumed within five to ten years of their release. However, top-quality expressions from reputable producers may be cellared for an extended period, rewarding patience with greater elegance and depth.

It is said that to savour a Tempranillo wine is to taste the essence of Spain – a delicious reflection of the country's rich winemaking traditions and the diversity of its terroir. So vital is the Tempranillo grape to the identity of Spanish wine, in fact, that it’s often simply referred to as 'the noble grape'.

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