Experiencing Wine’s Wonders is NOW AVAILABLE!
The Experiencing Wine’s Wonders course is now available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com. Get your copy and progress through the 16 lessons at your own pace. Never miss an update! Subscribe to our updates and we’ll send them straight to your inbox when they are published.
Style and the Tempranillo Grape
December 5, 2017 Update
Style is personal and sometimes we condemn a grape because of the style in which it has been made. All grapes can be made in different styles. Riesling is a prime example. It can be made dry or with layers of sweetness all the way to very sweet, affected by botrytis or not affected, very low in alcohol or high alcohol, full and round in texture or light and slender, fruity or dominantly mineral. Therefore, it can be chosen in a style to pair well with light dishes or with more robust dishes. It’s no surprise that we tend to like it for the style we prefer.
Tempranillo is another example of wide style variations.
In the territory that made it famous, Rioja, it can vary in style, but it is known most for the long time it spends in American Oak, which emphasizes the effects of oak and its flavors. Whereas a similar time in oak for many wines would destroy the fruit, not so in a Rioja Gran Reserva. But in the upper Ribera del Duero and the Douro Valley in Portugal, it can be another creature altogether.
Texas is known for its Tempranillo, ranging from exciting to just plain spiritless juice.
Two wineries stand at the peak of what Texas offers in Tempranillo and warrant your attention for an examination of their styles. It will be a great exercise. Their Tempranillos are both well made and come from different parts of the state.
Tempranillo Reserve, Becker Vineyards 2015. From the high plains of Texas, this example is full and rich in fruit flavors with a touch of sweetness. All that fruit changes its style and adds a little sweetness. Smooth, with hints of oak, it can make a wonderful sipping wine as well as a great complement to some lighter Tex-Mex dishes. Recommended.
Compare the former to the Tempranillo’s from Pedernales Cellars, which are made with more backbone and minerality. They lend themselves to sipping for the red wine lover but also to complementing savory meals. Less full and rich, in this case, does not mean less in quality and personal reward. It’s just another style. Also recommended.
As I said, style is personal and I prefer Becker’s on one occasion and Pedernales’ on another. Appreciation of style, you will notice, is also connected with our mood and whim of the moment. Choose your styles and keep experimenting.