1- Tempranillo grape: Vine varieties: Wine strains

Tempranillo is one of the most important in Spain and of course it is the flagship of La Rioja. It is planted throughout the national territory and in the last 20 years it has managed to place itself in the first position of the red varieties most planted in our country, taking the position from the Garnacha Tinta . In this article you will find everything you need to know about the tempranillo grape.

It adapts very well to different types of soils and climates, although its maximum potential is shown in cold climates. It has a sister with a lot of potential in white, which is the Tempranillo Blanco , less common but with very similar characteristics.

Of course, it is a very versatile variety capable of producing a grape that allows us to produce excellent quality wines both in young and in crianza or reserva.

2- introduction

The Tempranillo variety is one of the most important autochthonous vine varieties in Spain,  always cultivated in La Rioja, although it has spread throughout the country.

Authorized in 38 Denominations of Origin of our country and considered as a preferred variety in 14 of them. It is adapting very well in the viticulture of South America.

In Spain there are more than 200,000 hectares planted  (2007) of the Tempranillo grape. It is the second most planted variety in our country after airén, and the first in red.

The Denominations of Origin where the Tempranillo grape is authorized are:

  1. Alella
  2. Alicante
  3. Almansa
  4. Ampurdá-Costa Brava
  5. Binissalem-Mallorca
  6. Bullas
  7. Calatayud
  8. Borja field
  9. Carignan
  10. Catalonia
  11. Cigales
  12. Conca de Barberá
  13. Costers del Segre
  14. Jumilla
  15. La Mancha
  16. Manchuela
  17. Méntrida
  18. Navarra
  19. Penedés
  20. Pla de Bages
  21. Pla i Llevant
  22. Ribeiro
  23. Ribera del Duero
  24. Ribera del Guadiana
  25. Ribera del Júcar
  26. Rioja
  27. Wheel
  28. Sierra de Málaga
  29. Somontano
  30. Tarragona
  31. highland
  32. Toro
  33. Utiel-Requena
  34. Valdeorras
  35. Valdepeñas
  36. Valencia
  37. Madrid wines
  38. Yecla

3- Synonymy, different ways of knowing the same variety

Tempranillo, being so widespread throughout the national territory and planted in so many places, will surely be the variety with the greatest number of synonyms and the tempranillo grape is also known as:

Cencibel, Temprana, Tinto fino, Tinta fina, Tinta de Toro, Tinta del Pais, Ull de llebre, Tinto Roriz en Portugal, Primerenc, Aranda, Argand, Chinchillana, Marinera, Santa Ana, Santiaguera, Ullada.

4- Characteristics of the tempranillo grape


They are large in size, with marked shoulders, compact, uniform in size and berry color. With a medium-sized peduncle and little lignification, except at the base.


They are medium to large in size, with blue-black epidermis. Circular profile and difficult to detach from its pedicel.

 Thick skin .

– Pulp not pigmented, soft, very juicy and fleshy.

Wine strains

They are of high vigor and very upright bearing. Tempranillo is a short cycle variety with sprouting in the middle season and early maturation. Of good fertility and high production that is usually regular.

5- Ampelographic description of the tempranillo variety

Open tops , with weak pigmentation, especially on the edges of its expanding leaves. With high density of hairs lying down with a cottony appearance.

Branches: Both the nodes and the internodes and their entire contour, are green with very marked red stripes, as is the case with the tendrils. They have a medium density of lying hairs.

The vine shoots , when withering, take on a characteristic yellowish gray color, with dark knots.

Young leaves: Large, with five or seven marked lobes and pentagonal shape. Truncated, curled or curled at the petiole point.

With petiolar sinus in a closed U and with marked overlapping of the petiolar lobes.

Deep foliar sinuses, except for the complementary ones closest to the petiolar sinus, occasionally lyre-shaped and with a tooth at its base and slightly overlapping lobes.

Upper part very dark, with a slightly puffy warped profile, with pigmentation on the main veins.

Underside of medium to high density of long lying hairs.

Petiole slightly shorter than the midrib, thin, little pigmented and with a low density of flat hairs.

Large sharp teeth , alternating with other smaller ones and with convex retyline sides.

6- Agronomic characteristics of Tempranillo wine strains

Tempranillo grapes are very regular in fruit setting, very sensitive to pests and diseases, not very resistant to extreme drought and high temperatures. Short cycle variety.

Variety very sensitive to wood diseases, especially euthypiosis and tinder complex. Little sensitive to excoriation.

Highly sensitive to powdery mildew and medium sensitivity to mildew and black rot.

Very sensitive to cluster moths , leafhoppers and spider mites.

Very sensitive to breakage caused by strong wind if the branches are not well supported.

Not very sensitive to the cold of spring since in this case the sprouting is delayed. It sprouts late and ripens early.

It tolerates drought well except if it is very extreme. Responds well to water inputs.

Nutritionally,  the tempranillo grape variety is demanding in potassium , with moderate requirements in nitrogen and phosphorus and low demand in magnesium .

It produces well in short pruning, but improves its sanitary status and the quality of its grapes if it is established on trellises, the trellis formation must be high enough.

7- Oenological potential of tempranillo wine

In general, it produces optimal red wines for aging with good body, finesse, intensity and aromatic complexity. Stable ruby ​​red color.

Its must is of an intense red color, wine and with quite low acidity, with few tannins and therefore a base of soft, light but very aromatic reds.

With limited productions , using viticulture techniques, the Tempranillo variety produces grapes with low acidity.

With high productions it can be short on color. 

It is used , among other things, to make young wines, aging wines … Today, it is used in many types of winemaking. 

It produces very fruity wines with carbonic maceration. It enhances its value when aged in barrels, with excellent results. 

Ripe harvests give excellent wines to age. 

The tempranillo grape complements very well with varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon ,  Merlot or Garnacha Tinta Grapes .

8- The wine tasting from the Tempranillo grape

In sight

The tempranillo tasting offers us: marked intensity, intense red color, violet nuances in its youth and brick color over the years.

On the nose

Some aromas present in the wine from the Tempranil are: strawberry, plum, ripe red fruits, sometimes herbal / floral and after aging: vanilla, chocolate, tobacco, roasted …

In mouth

Tempranillo shows a nice, silky entry, with discreet acidity, smoothness and fine tannins …

The Oak and the Tempranillo

Oak and Tempranillo fit very well. Both American and French oak blend seamlessly with Tempranillo and provide notes of vanilla and coconut, fruit, and spicy flavors.

Profile and character of the wine

Tempranillo wine profile and character : full body, mild acidity, dry tannins.

9- Tempranillo wine pairing

Tempranillo admits many pairings. It goes well with baked lamb, tapas, cold cuts, soft cheeses, cheddar, havarti and not as soft as blue, goat, pasta and rice with medium intensity flavors, river fish, stews….

Tempranillos al mundo: Tempranillos al mundo is an international itinerant competition on single varietals of tempranillo.

Dr. Sofia Seccombe

My name is Dr. Sofia Seccombe, and in this small section, I want to tell you who I am and why I started this project. I don't want to bore you, but I consider that it is an important part of godlywine. It serves as an exercise in transparency so that the person who reads the articles can be sure that the information is reliable.

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