The oldest recorded mention to Tempranillo is dated from the 13th century at the Ribera del Duero region. The name Tempranillo comes from the Spanish “temprano”, early, in clear reference to the true identity of the early ripening varieties.
Tempranillo clusters are packed, medium to big size, with small thick skinned berries. This variety is rather fruitful, with early budding and ripening. Tempranillo is affected by wind gusts, extreme drought, powdery mildew and eutypa dieback. Nevertheless it presents good endurance to botrytis cinerea. With high performances the colour intensity, acidity and fruit scents decrease.
Spain is the Tempranillo epicentre, and is the most cultivated red grape in the country. Tempranillo vineyards are distributed widely all over and get different names depending on the region. In the higher and colder regions of La Rioja, Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa it can ripen completely two weeks earlier than Garnacha, so both varieties have been traditionally blended.
Tempranillo wines are less alcoholic than Garnacha, Monastrell and Bobal wines. Its tannins are always present, its acidity is moderate and the taste ranges from spicy to leather, tobacco leaf and strawberry if aged in American oak casks as has been the tradition in La Rioja. Tempranillo wines from Ribera del Duero usually have a more modern tailoring and as a rule are aged in French oak casks, so the fruit is much more intense and evident. Some up-to-date producers from Navarra and Castilla La Mancha season their Tempranillo wines with other varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Toro is maybe the appellation where the most strong and alcoholic Tempranillo wines are produced.
The most remarkable Tempranillo wine producers in Spain are: Artadi, Abel Mendoza, Finca Allende, Fernando Remírez de Ganuza, Remelluri, Roda, Señorío de San Vicente y Sierra Cantabria in La Rioja; Aalto, Alión, Alonso del Yerro, Alejandro Fernández Pesquera, Pago de los Capellanes, Pagos de Matanegra, Pérez Pascuas, Goyo García Viadero and Pingus in Ribera del Duero; Dominio del Bendito, Maurodos, Numanthia, Pintia, Telmo Rodríguez and Teso La Monja in Toro.