If it was a person, Tempranillo would be that friend that arrives half an hour before your dinner party starts and helps you finish the canapes while opens the first bottle of wine and turns up the volume of the music. This enthusiastic fun starter gets its name from the Spanish diminutive of “early” (temprano) and it suits it well, since the variety is harvested a few weeks before others because it ripens a little early.
In Valdepeñas, Spanish DO just south of Castilla-La Mancha, the grape is sometimes known as Cencibel. In fact, this fun-loving varietal has many names across the Mediterranean country: Aragonez, Tinta de Toro, Tinta de País are just a few more. In this particular Valdepeñas wine, however, Tempranillo introduces itself by the name we know and love.
Dominio de Artiga Reserva 2008 is 100% Tempranillo comes from a terroir where grapes growing in clay and limestone soils are put to the test by cold winters where below zero temperatures are not unheard of and equally hot summers where forty degrees are considered normal.
The wine is intense ruby red and a brief swirl is the fist sign of its medium body, which at 13% ABV, has enough punch to face acidity and remain balanced.
The tannins are present and bold but never harsh, again, just like a friend that tells it like it is and for that we love him even more.
Five years of ageing, with a minimum of one year in barrels -a combination of French, American and Hungarian- gave it the time to mellow and mature as well as to develop lovely aromas of vanilla and sweet spices that complement and enhance the ripe berries and cocoa notes.
With its laid-back tannins, this is a very food friendly wine, and one that is also very versatile. Try it with Manchego cheese and authentic Spanish charcuterie, or get into the kitchen to make a BBQ lamb rump, or perhaps a dry aged Angus beef ribs.
Dominio de Artiga Reserva 2008 is available at O’Briens Wines at €14,95.
If you love Spanish wine, here’s an extra tip: This month O’Briens Wines is having a big Spanish Wine Sale with over 100 bottles with 20 to 40% off. This is a chance to stock up on your favourites at even better value than usual.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.