Celebrate Texas Wine on International Tempranillo Day
Spanish grape excels in the Lone Star State
By Wes Marshall,
12:30PM, Wed. Nov. 12, 2014
Tempranillo is the world famous grape that forms the backbone of two of Spain’s most majestic wines, Rioja and Ribera del Duero. So why are we talking about Texas wines?
International Tempranillo Day is tomorrow. And with so many great local winemakers using the grape to make outstanding wine, we think it's time for a toast.
Fredrik Osterberg, president of Pedernales Cellars, agrees. His winery is one of Texas' best Tempranillo producers – with a list of international awards as proof. He says that Texas and Tempranillo are a perfect pairing. “Some grapes have become closely associated with a region, like California and Cab, Oregon and Pinot, or Argentina and Malbec. We are now at a point where we can add Texas and Tempranillo to that list. Tempranillo is perfect for Texas. It loves the sun, the soils and the heat. I've always said that if we grow the right kind of grapes, we can make world class wine in Texas. Tempranillo is a perfect point in case.”
The grape is actually a chameleon of sorts. It harvests early so there’s less fear of damaging hail or low temperatures harming the crop, a trait viticulturists love. In cool areas, it produces a light and acidic wine. In hotter climates, the grape makes a wine with more body, darker colors, and fruitier flavors.
Those are some of the reasons that Jeff Ogle from Duchman Family Winery likes the grape. “There is tremendous potential for Tempranillo in the state” he said. “Tempranillo is a natural fit for the climate and soil conditions in Texas, and the versatility it allows in the cellar is also key to its popularity. Tempranillo can be found in a number of different expressions, each reflecting a particular winemaker's take on the best possible way to showcase the fruit. At Duchman, we use neutral oak to highlight the unique flavor profile of the grape, while others will make equally interesting wines using almost every variety of barrel program, from minimal influence to fully oaked. That diversity means that there is always something new for the consumer, and with the ever increasing wine IQ of the general public, keeping wine drinkers engaged requires more than pumping out generic wines. The variety of styles and flavor profiles among Texas Tempranillos will serve to make these wines (and this varietal) much more than a passing fad in the years to come.”
It's as good a reason as any for a Thursday night celebration. Once you’ve tried it, I can assure you that it won’t be your last. Here’s a few of my favorites.
Brennan Vineyards Tempranillo
Fall Creek Salt Lick Vineyard Tempranillo
Duchman Family Winery Bayer Family Vineyard Tempranillo
Llano Estacado ‘Cellar Reserve’ Texas High Plains Tempranillo
McPherson Cellars "La Herencia" blend
Pedernales Cellars Texas Tempranillo