In her Financial Times column and on her website this week, Jancis Robinson describes how Tempranillo has in the last 25 years or so become the third-most planted grape in the world, in terms of acreage, after Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It even now beats out Airén, the white grape of Spanish brandy. And yet Tempranillo is essentially “a one-country grape,” Robinson says. Despite a strong incursion into Portugal, “about 90 percent of the world’s Tempranillo is grown in Spain.”
Tempranillo is one of the grapes Texas winemakers are increasingly enthusiastic about, as they continue to explore warm-climate grape varieties from the Mediterranean countries. When I visited Texas to attend TexSom in August, I had the opportunity to try a few Texas wines, and was particularly impressed with the Tempranillos from Pedernales Cellars and Brennan Vineyards.
These were rich, deep and savory wines, with blueberry and tobacco leaf flavors typical of the grape. My imagination tends to kick into high gear when I taste such delicious wines, but even in the climate-controlled atmosphere of the Four Seasons near Dallas, I could almost taste the gritty sunshine and sweat of my Hollywood-infused image of the Texas landscape, but without the overstated Texas swagger. These are delicious, elegant wines.
This is Drink Local Wine Week, the annual call to bloggers and writers across the country to feature local wines. It is sponsored by Drink Local Wine, the group Jeff “The Wine Curmudgeon” Siegel and I co-founded in 2008, before local wine became mainstream. You can find a running list of articles for Drink Local Wine Week on the organization’s website.