I just love international wine varietal days. November 13, 2014 was declared International Tempranillo Day by TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society) to celebrate the beloved grape. As TAPAS explained on their web site “Tempranillo, indigenous to Spain and used in the great Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines, is planted in 500,000 acres of the world’s vineyards, making it the fourth most planted wine grape.”
If you have never enjoyed the beauty of Tempranillo here is some general information. Tempranillo is a medium to full body, red wine offering general flavor profiles of red fruit, spice, tomatoes and leather. It tends to have full flavor with a smooth, lower tannin, lower acidity texture. However, old world Tempranillos do vary a bit in color, flavor and body from new world Tempranillos due to differences in the winemaking techniques. The name Tempranillo translates to “early” because this grape tends to ripen earlier on the vine than other Spanish grapes; even thriving in shorter growing seasons. If you have ever had Spanish red wine chances are good you’ve had Tempranillo; it is blended or bottled by itself in the majority of Spanish reds from the most expensive to simple table wines. Today, Tempranillo is grown in 14 countries! Tempranillo thrives in the Lodi region of California and grows so well in the Texas High Plains and Hill County it is considered the state grape.
I have not yet had the pleasure to experience Lodi Tempranillo (I hope to change that soon). I have enjoyed many Spanish Tempranillos (even reviewed the Kame Tinto just a few days ago, Tighten Up with Kame Tinto) and have a few currently in my cellar, but to celebrate this past International Tempranillo Day I chose a favorite Texas wine. The first time I tried Pedernales’ Tempranillo was at TexSom 2014. You will recall from my article Fifty States of Wine that the Pedernales 2012 Tempranillo High Plains was one of my favorites in the session featuring 11 wines outside CA, WA and OR. Let’s see how the Pedernales 2012 Tempranillo compared to its High Plains sibling.
Pedernales Cellars 2012 Texas Tempranillo: This wine poured a light ruby with orange highlights and high clarity into the glass. On the nose this lively wine offered lovely aromas of ripe red fruit, spice and a touch of earthiness. On the palate these flavors followed through with red cherries, red plums, baking spices with added white pepper, ending with a touch of toasted pecans, tobacco and dry earth. This Tempranillo was a clean, medium body wine. Its acidity was balanced with the tannins creating a smooth and pleasing wine. The 2012 vintage was crafted of 100% Tempranillo from the Texas Hill Country and High Plains to blend a more robust wine. Once the grapes arrived at the winery they were hand sorted, de-stemmed, crushed, then inoculated with a traditional Rioja yeast strain before being fermented in small batch fermenters. The wine underwent a 15 month aging in predominately American oak barrels with medium toast. In keeping with Pedernales’ minimal intervention philosophy this wine “saw very gentle handling using gravity flow whenever possible and underwent only minimal fining and filtering before bottling.” SRP $18.99. It contained 13.2% alcohol. I recommend this wine.
I paired the Pedernales 2012 Texas Tempranillo with spiral sirloin steaks topped with blue cheese and toasted pecans with creamy polenta and red wine sautéed white mushrooms. It was a delicious meal and a perfect pairing for the lively and smooth Tempranillo that offered great balance with all the flavors and textures.
From the Pedernales web site:
Pedernales Cellars is Texas premier boutique winery, producing world class wines, including benchmark Tempranillo and Viognier. Owned and operated by a sixth generation Texas family, Pedernales Cellars cultivates ecologically sound and environmentally sustainable practices in order to pass its legacy to future generations. Visitors to the winery can tour the geothermal barrel cellars, and then relax with a glass of wine on the tree-covered deck with breathtaking views of Pedernales River valley. Come and taste the good life in your home away from home in the Texas Hill Country.
Pedernales Cellars is committed to producing 100% Texas wines. They have identified grapes that thrive in the Texas climate resulting in award winning Spanish and Rhone varietal wines including: Tempranillo, GSM, Viognier, Albarino and Dry Rose. I strongly encourage you to visit Pedernales Cellars web site to learn more about them, view their entire portfolio of wine and order any one or all of their Tempranillos to share with friends and family this holiday season!
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with Pedernales Cellars 2012 Texas Tempranillo is Honey Pot by Bob Schneider. Bob Schneider is an indie singer songwriter from Austin. He is an excellent representation of the great music produced by independent artists in Texas; just like Pedernales Cellars is a great representation of high quality Texas wine.
Get your own bottle of Pedernales Cellars 2012 Texas Tempranillo and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!