For beginners out there who haven’t yet tried this grape varietal, I highly recommend seeking it out! (It’s pronouncing tem • pra • ne-yo just so you know!) Born and raised in the higher elevations of Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions of Spain, the noble Tempranillo has now migrated across the globe. The neighboring country of Portugal refers to it as Tinta Roriz and when it first arrived to the United States, it was called Valdepenas.
Since Tempranillo has traveled out west, I thought it would be a great adventure to take a short trip down to the pioneering winery that first brought this grape to the state of Oregon. Earl and Hilda Jones at Abacela Winery, located in the heart of the Umpqua Valley, saw the full potential of Tempranillo grapes and planted acres of them at their Fault Line Vineyard. Just a few short years later their efforts were well rewarded when an Abacela wine was awarded top honor over almost twenty other Spanish-made Tempranillos.
Having enjoyed Abacela’s wines on a number of occasions including a winery visit last winter, I can’t think of a more appropriate way to celebrate International Tempranillo Day than with the pioneers who had so much faith in this grape!
If you’re inspired to celebrate International Tempranillo Day, please enjoy a glass of Tempranillo with your pre-Labor day BBQ and a toast to the inventive Americans who have ensured Tempranillo’s future in our country. If you’d rather commemorate the grape’s Spanish origins, share your wine with friends over tapas! Either way, enjoy this full-bodied, jammy noble wine with a hearty “salud!”