Tempranillo: Main Image
Found mainly in Spain and Portugal where it is one of the dominant varietals, this forms the backbone of many of Spain’s reds, including those of Rioja, its best-known wine region.  

Flavor Descriptors

Tempranillo usually offers flavors of dusty black fruits, mild berries (from strawberry to blueberry), tobacco, and a musky, earthy spiciness. Extended oak aging (several years is not uncommon for traditional Rioja) can affect the end flavors immensely with notes of vanilla, oak, cedar, toast, and dried fruits.

Food Pairings

Young and un-oaked

Tapas, Spanish tortilla, ham, salmon.


Slow-cooked or smoked pork, chicken with mushroom gravy, beef stews.


Steak, grilled lamb, spicy sausages.

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The information presented here is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.