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This red wine variety originated from Spain, probably La Rioja. Tempranillo means "little early one" which refers to the fact that it has an early ripening season.
Over the last few decades it has become the leading Spanish red wine variety and is an ambassador to Spain's wines throughout the world. It is grown in most Spanish wine producing regions and in other countries such as Portugal, the United States, Australia, Argentina, etc. It has many different names (or synonymies): Tinta Fina, Tinta del País, Valdepeñas, Cencibel, Ull de Llebre, Aragonés, Tinta Roriz ... A theory put forward by the prestigious specialist, Luis Hidalgo, links it to the Pinot Noir grape of the French Burgundy region, a variety which may have been brought to Spain, like many others, through the Way of St James. Although this variety has a long-standing presence in Navarre, it has only gained popularity over the last two decades, and is now the leading red wine variety of the D.O. with 6,800 hectares accounting for 37% of the total surface area. It is present throughout Navarre, although it is more predominant in the Ribera Alta, Ribera Baja and Tierra Estella.
Tempranillo wines are generally of a medium to dark intensity, slightly acidic, a good body and with aromas reminiscent of blackberries and liquorice. They are used for young, generally monovarietal wines and also particularly lend themselves to barrel ageing, where they are normally blended with other varieties.