What Makes Rioja Tempranillo Special?

ASK ANA

What makes Rioja Tempranillo special?

–Question from Peggy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“What an insightful question Peggy! I would think you may have arrived at this question from your sensorial experience with a glass of Rioja. As I shared in my book, ‘Tempranillo of Rioja expresses the nobility of the grape in a way that is not found in any other wine region.’ This nobility is the greatest expression of the grape, which translates into balance, elegance, and finesse that equates excellence. Experts agree that the terrior of Rioja is where Tempranillo is happiest. Our growers and winemakers are in a ‘deep relationship’ with Tempranillo which accounts for over 80% of our current DOCa vineyard distribution. In addition to this, the DOCa of Rioja implements a sophisticated system of quality control that assists in the pursuit of excellence.”

Ana Fabiano is the Trade Director for the U.S. Rioja campaign, Brand Ambassador for the DOCa Rioja, and author of the award-winning book The Wine Region of Rioja. She has traveled extensively throughout Rioja is passionate about this region of the world.

A little more background on tempranillo while we’re on the subject:

Temprano means “early,” and illo (“little one”) is a diminutive in the Castilian Language. “Early” comes from the fact that the vegetation cycle of tempranillo is shorter; it ripens early and is harvested before other red grape varieties. “Little one” is due to the fact that the grape itself is smaller than other varieties. Tempranillo is widely cultivated in Spain, but is king in Rioja in terms of both acreage and, most importantly, unrivaled quality.

A bluish black thick-skinned grape, Tempranillo needs cold, sun and heat – and has all three in Rioja. Other red grape varieties that blend well with tempranillo include Garnacha Tinta (mainly known by its French name of Grenache), Graciano and Mazuelo. Garnacha enhances the color, body and alcohol of tempranillo, while graciano brings more grace, and mazuelo is used in aging Reservas and Gran Reservas.

What Makes Rioja Tempranillo Special?

Discover More

Trade Secrets

Contact

Join the Rioja Trade Community

One factor that makes Rioja a world class wine is its ability to be aged for a long time, and the fact that the winery ages the wines before release. In fact, Rioja has long set the standard for extended aging, having defined the requirements.

Bodegas Available for
Export in the US

Bodegas Ontanon
CVNE
Vivanco
European Cellars/ Eric Solomon Selections
Europvin
Evaton
Fine Estates From Spain
Folio Fine Wine Partners
Frederick Wildman & Sons
Grupo Bodegas Faustino
Marques de Riscal
Ole Imports
Opici Wines
Osborne USA
Palm Bay International
Quintessential
Shaw-Ross International Importers
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Terlato
The Artisan Collection
The Drink Collective
Vinamericas Selections LLC
Vineyard Brands, Inc.
W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd.
Winebow
Winebow (MundoVino, a member of The Winebow Group)
Zamora Americas
220 Imports
A.I. Selections
ARAEX/Spanish Fine Wines
Arborway Imports
Artevino
Ascent Wines
Assa Imports
Astor Wines
Austral Wine Merchants
Aveniu Brands
Baron Francois
BCG Consulting
Bodega Classica/Vintae
Bodegas Castillo de Mendoza
Bodegas Corral, S.A.
Bodegas Medrano Irazu
Bodega Nivarius
Bodegas Ontanon
Bodegas Pastor Diaz
Bodegas Patrocinio, SCL
Bodegas Riojanas
Bodegas Tobia
Bodegas Valdelana
Bon Vivant Imports
Boutique Wine Collection
Bronco Wine Company
C & P WinesBronco Wine Company
Carolina Wine Brands USA
Casa Ventura Imports, Inc.
Cerda y Llanos
Chartrand Imports
Chateau Armand
Classic Wines
Classical Wines from Spain
Cognac One, LLC
Coleccion International Del Vino USA (CIV USA)
Constellation Wines
Constellation Wines
David Bowler Wine
De Maison Selections
DFV Wines
Dionysos Imports
Divino Imports
Domaine Select
Dreyfus Ashby & Co
Eguren Ugarte
Elite Wines
Emporium Nostrum
ENYE Imports Group
Familia Martinez Bujanda
Felix Solis Avantis
Folio Fine Wine Partners
Folio Wine Partners
Francisco Selections, Inc.
Freixenet USA
Frontier Wine Imports
Garnacha Inc
GECO Global Group USA
Golden State Wine Co.
Gonzalez-Byass
Grapes of Spain
Grupo Bodegas Olarra
Grupo Principe de Viana
H.A.B. North America
HGC Imports Inc.
Hidalgo Imports
HP Selections
International Wine & Spirits
Janet Kafka
Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd.
La Rioja Alta
Laurel Importers
Lionstone International
Lopez de Haro
Luneau USA, Inc
Maisons Marques & Domaines
Marfa Group
Marques de Murrieta
Michael Skurnik Wines
MJM Imports
Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd.
Murphy Distribution
Natural Wine Co.
New Age Imports
Noble House Wines
North American Organic
Omniwines
P.R.Grisley Co.
Parador Selections
Paternina
Pernod Ricard USA
Pipeline Distribution
Polaner Selections
Protecom Wines Inc.
Regal Wine Imports
RM Distributors
RM Mabor
RMB
Roda
Romero & Miller, LLC
Royal Wine Corp.
Serendipity Wines
Signature Imports
SolStar Wines
Spain Wine Collection
Spanish Vines Imports, Inc.
Specialty Cellars
Steve Miles Selection
T Edward Wines
Tempranillo Inc
Terra Nostra Vinos
Terroir
Testa Wines of the World Ltd.
The House of Burgundy, Inc.
The Marchetti Co./Scoperta Importing Co.
The Spanish Wine Imports
Think Global Wines LLC
Torres
Tradewinds Specialty Imports
Transatlantic
Tri Vin Imports
United Cellars
United Wineries/MHW
USA Wine West
Vin de Terra Imports, Inc.
Vin Divino
Vinaio Imports, Ltd.
Vinole Wines
Vinos and Gourmet Jose Pastor Selections
Vinos Libres
Vintage Wines
VINTUS
Vision Wine & Spirits, LLC
Well Oiled Company
Wine Associates, Inc.
Winebow
WineLite Imports
Winesellers, Ltd.
WineWise