Trophy catch of Spanish grapes

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WITH autumn approaching especially with the clocks changing this weekend this is a perfect time to explore red wines, and what’s better than Tempranillo?

A black grape variety widely grown to make medium to full bodied reds and often referred to as Spain’s noble grape, the Tempranillo name is derived from ‘temprano,’ which is Spanish for early.

This refers to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes.

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Grown in Spain since Phoenician times more than 2,000 years ago, although native to the north the grape is found throughout the globe from Argentina to New Zealand.

The major producing Spanish regions are Rioja in north central Spain and the more southerly Ribera del Duero, though substantial quantities are also grown in Penedès, Navarra and Valdepeñas.

Tempranillo with a fairly neutral profile is often blended with other varieties or aged in oak where the wine takes on the flavour of the barrel.

Ruby red in colour, Tempranillo aromas and flavours can include berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather and herb, providing reminders of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tempranillo with its savoury qualities pairs well with all food, including regional Spanish cuisine, ham, lamb, grilled meats, casseroles and game, dishes with tomato-based sauces, Polenta, and Mexican food including tacos, nachos and burritos.

Alternatively try it along with a nice Manchego cheese with crusty bread.

Happy tasting.

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