Give the Gift of Spanish Tempranillo

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  • By Kevin Lepisto
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Give the Gift of Spanish Tempranillo

Nothing says Spain in a glass like a nice glass of fruity and spicy Tempranillo wine.  One sip and you’re transported to Spain. 

Tempranillo is Spain’s noble red grape and is the grape behind some of its most celebrated wines like Rioja and Ribera del Duero.   Tempranillo wines come in many styles and price ranges and make excellent gifts for red wine lovers whether they are new to wine and looking to expand their horizons or an avid collector looking to add to their collection.  


Here are some of my top picks for giftable Spanish Tempranillo wines ranging from crowd pleasing value wines to world class collectable wines:


2016 Emilio Moro ‘Finca Resalso’, Ribera Del Duero

Finca Resalso is the name of the first vineyard Emilio Moro planted back in the 1930’s.  His 100% Tempranillo wine by the name is easy drinking and fresh with rich berry fruits and nice acidity to make it perfect for food.  The wine spends 4 months in used French barrels just to add a little texture and spice.   This is a crowd friendly wine that can pair with just about any food.

$15.99 per bottle


2015 Teso La Monja ‘Romanico’ Tinta de Toro, Toro

Romanico is always a hit when we pour it at one of our tasting events.  It really shows how enjoyable and rich the Tempranillo wines from Toro can be without going over the top.  The wine is dense and smooth with black berry and cherry fruits with hints of oak spice adding complexity and a nice vein of acidity keeping it fresh on the palate.  A great buy!  Tinta de Toro is the name used for Tempranillo in the region of Toro in central Spain.  The Tinta de Toro grape is smaller with thicker skins and produces a much richer style Tempranillo wine that can’t be achieved in Rioja.

$16.99 per bottle


2015 Sierra Cantabria Crianza, Rioja

The wines from Sierra Cantabria in Rioja are consistently some of the best values in the entire store and always showcase beautiful ripe red tempranillo fruit in the classic Rioja style.  Their Crianza wine spends 14 months in oak with a light toast to add spice and complexity to the bold wine.  Their Crianza is refined, approachable and deeply satisfying. 

$17.99 per bottle


2010 Farina ‘Gran Colegiata Campus’ Tinta de Toro, Toro

Tinta de Toro is the name for Tempranillo in the region of Toro in central Spain.  The Tinta de Toro grape is smaller with thicker skins and produces a much richer style Tempranillo wine that can’t be achieved in Rioja.  Farina’s Campus Toro is produced from a small plot of 100+ year old vines.  This is a dark and rich wine with dense black cherry and plum fruits and plenty of toasted oak spice.  The tannins have softened with its age but the wine is still remarkably fresh.

$34.99 per bottle


2005 R. Lopez de Heredia ‘Vina Tondonia’ Reserva, Rioja

Lopez de Heredia is one of the oldest and most traditional producers in Rioja starting in 1877.   They are known for their remarkably long aging process with all their wines. The Tondonia Reserva is aged 6 years in used American oak then 6 years in bottle prior to releasing to the market.   This wine is all about complexities and secondary flavors rather than fruit flavors although the wine is remarkably fresh given its age. It’s a wine that you need to sit and contemplate while drinking, taking mental notes of all the spice aromas and umami flavors that emerge from the glass.  The 2005 vintage is slightly richer than the 2004 although still somewhat light in body.  This is an incredibly satisfying wine at this price and a wine that can age for many years.

$44.99 per bottle


2010 Remelluri Reserva, Rioja

Remelluri recently released some of their older vintage wines stored at the winery and I was lucky enough to pick up another case of this 2010 Reserva.  This wine has everything you want in a world class Rioja wine.  It’s powerful and rich with black cherry fruit yet elegant and complex with layers of spice, leather and tea leaf.    The oak has integrated well and the wine is well balanced with fruit and structure to offer quite a pleasurable experience.  This is top notch Rioja!

$44.99 per bottle


2011 Valduero Reserva, Ribera Del Duero

The Tempranillo wines from Valduero prove that elegant and finessed wines can be produced in Ribera del Duero, not just overripe powerhouses.  Valduero’s Reserva spends a considerable time in various oak barrels to smooth out the tannins and add a nice touch of integrated oak spice, but the beautiful ripe cherry fruit still takes center stage with the spice notes adding complexity.    This is one of those layered wines that will keep evolving in the glass as you enjoy every sip.

$45.99 per bottle


2014 Pago De Los Capellanes Reserva, Ribera del Duero

If you’re looking for a rich, intense and complex wine then look no further. This 100% Tempranillo wine has deep ruby color and aromas of ripe berries, spice and licorice.  The flavors are of black cherries and berries followed by smokey spices, vanilla and cedar. The balance of acidity, mature tannins and oak make it lush with a long elegant finish. This is the perfect wine for long braised lamb or beef, roasted pork and roasted game bird.  Pago de los Capellanes was founded by the Rodero-Villa family in 1996 and is one of the most consistent producers in all of the Ribera del Duero.

$49.99 per bottle


2010 Muga ‘Prado Enea’ Gran Reserva, Rioja

Muga’s 2010 Prado Enea really surprised me with its elegance and grace.  It’s a much lighter and finessed wine than I’ve come to expect from most Muga wines but don’t get me wrong this is still a powerful and complex wine that deserves great respect.   Prado Enea is made of mostly Tempranillo from Muga’s highest elevation vineyards and only made in the best years when conditions are just right.  This is a beautiful wine with great balance, depth and length.  There is no sign of age on this wine despite its long aging at the winery prior to release. This wine can age for years to come and only get better.

$73.99 per bottle


2009 Cune ‘Imperial’ Gran Reserva, Rioja

CUNE’s Imperial wines are made from a small plot of their best vines in Rioja Alta and only produced in the very best vintages.  The Imperial Gran Reserva is their top of the line wine and made for the long haul.  The 80% Tempranillo blend is aged 3 years in French and American oak then 4 years in the bottle prior to being released to the market.   Compared to CUNE’s regular gran reserva wine, the Imperial is much more concentrated with dark red cherry and black berry fruits.  The long oak aging adds plenty of licorice, vanilla and spice with the additional bottle aging just starting to bring out the complex earthy and leathery notes of an aged wine.

$74.99 per bottle


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