Category Archives: Spanish Tempranillo

Mar 03 2012

Australian Tempranillo: Standing Tall Against top Spanish Expressions of the Variety

Posted on March 03, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

One of the delights of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s Wine Masterclass Fire in the Belly was the opportunity to compare some of the finest examples of Spanish tempranillo with their Australian counterparts.

Peter Leske of La Linea was on the panel, and I couldn’t help wondering how he felt to have his Norteño Tempranillo 2010 compared to Spanish greats like Vega Sicilia’s Pintia 2006 and the Telmo Rodriguez Matallana 2006, for example.

Vega Sicilia, of course, holds the mantle as Spain’s most prestigious producer. Its flagship cuvee, the Único, a Ribera del Duero tempranillo, is widely regarded as one of the world’s best wines. The Pintia is from a more recently established bodega in Toro. It had all the hallmarks of great tempranillo – earthy aromas, spicy, dark fruit and chocolate flavours with subtle touches of vanilla and cedar, velvety tannins and a deliciously long finish. The exquisitely aromatic Telmo Rodriguez Matallana from Ribero del Duero slowly revealed its deep layers of flavours, which were supported by ripe, firm tannins.

But what about the Australian examples? Even though the Australian wines on show were disadvantaged by being younger in vintage than their Spanish rivals, they displayed the confidence and finesse that Australia’s talented winemakers are bringing to this revered Spanish variety.

The Mayford Tempranillo 2010, from a small, family-run winery in Porepunkah Victoria that is high above the Ovens River, was one of the highlights. Like the Matallana, it is fermented with natural yeasts – a practice that many Australian winemakers are embracing as it helps to impart the sense or place or terroir in the wine. With perfumes of black cherry, earth and spice and velvety, fine grained tannins, it was a beautifully balanced wine displaying gorgeously pure fruit flavours. Incidentally, Campbell Mattinson of The Wine Front described the Mayford Tempranillo 2010 “the best Mayford wine to date” and scored it 95 points. (The Wine Front 5 December 2011)

Tempranillo is often compared to pinot noir because its personality can vary quite widely depending on where it is planted. .. [Read More]

Mar 03 2012

Spanish Wine Comes to Australia: Masterclass with Telmo Rodríguez

Posted on March 03, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Last year I heard Telmo Rodríguez speak at a panel discussion on biodynamic wines at the Return to Terroir Grand Tasting in Melbourne. He was passionate about  biodynamic winemaking, indigenous Spanish grapes and returning to the “18th century vineyard style” of bush training the vines to replace the use of 20th century wire trellising systems.

I was thrilled to hear him speak again at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s masterclass, “Fire in the Belly.” Bordeaux trained Rodríguez is one of Spain’s most innovative winemakers… [Read More]

Mar 03 2011

Artadi: The Winery that Reinvented Rioja Tempranillo

Posted on March 03, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Single vineyard wines, old vines, low yields, organic farming, ripe harvests, severe grape selection and non-interventionist winemaking. Today, we associate a lot of these practices with our best quality wines, but when Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, the legendary winemaker at Rioja’s Artadi, first began pioneering the practices in the mid 1980s, he was considered a revolutionary. Now he is regarded as the man who has changed the face of Rioja wines!

Artadi is not a boutique winemaker. Today the winery makes over a million bottles a year,.. [Read More]

Mar 03 2011

Vega Sicilia Único : A Uniquely Spanish Wine!

Posted on March 03, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Bodegas Vega Sicilia in Ribera Del Duero is Spain’s most famous winery. Its flagship wine, which is widely regarded as Spain’s best, is the tempranillo-based Vega Sicilia Único Reserva Especial. Michael Broadbent MW describes this wine as “Lafite of Spain”.

What I find fascinating is that the wine is actually a non-vintage blend. The 2010 release, for example, is a blend of the 1991, 1994, and 1995 vintages.  But as Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate notes, “what vintages are in each bottling..makes little difference… [Read More]