Tempranillo is undoubtedly the hero of Spanish wine. Most notably grown and produced in the regions of Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Navarro and Penedès, it is used to make both single varietal wines and in blends. Although a Spanish native, Tempranillo is also cultivated throughout the New World as well. South and North America as well as South Africa and Australia have all grown and produced Tempranillo to great success.
Compared to other more aromatic reds such as Cabernet and Shiraz, Tempranillo can sometimes appear a bit neutral. For this reason, it is often fermented and aged in oak to enhance the body and flavour profile of the wine. This is particularly evident in the wines of Rioja, which show quite pronounced levels of oak. At its best, Tempranillo shows aromas of strawberries and plum, with earthy, savoury characters, often highlighted by sweet, vanillin oak notes. These wines can be made to age too, with some of the best examples going for up to twenty years.
In Australia, notable regions that grow and produce Tempranillo include McLaren Vale, Orange, Mudgee and Canberra.