By Fred Minnick
Oh, how delicious the Tempranillo grape is.
The native-Spanish grape has won the hearts of wine lovers from around the world. This rich, well-structured red wine provides the perfect acidity, tannins and color, with a frequent nose of black fruits and floral notes. It’s often blended with Syrah and Garnacha, and is the cornerstone of Spanish wine. But, it’s not always called Tempranillo.
In the D.O. La Mancha, it’s often referred to as Cencibel. To appeal to the international market, however, many vineyards are labeling their bottles Tempranillo.
Whatever it’s called, this red presents great value. Whether it’s a family get-together or an everyday outing, Tempranillo pairs nicely with so many foods. It’s not too overpowering that it cannot be paired with pork. But, it has enough backbone to pair with grilled fleshy meats, such as a ribeye steak. It’s simply one of the best food wines available.
Here are seven D.O. La Mancha wines under $10.
Canforrales 2010 Clásico Joven Tempranillo, Bodegas Campos Reales
This is a bright cherry color with a violet rim, presenting aromas of strawberry and blueberry. On the palate, it explodes with up-front berry flavors with balanced acidity and silky tannins.
ROJO MOJO (TEMPRANILLO), Bodegas Lozano
This fruity red gives a color of garnet red and a nose of raspberries. On the palate, it’s fruity with a medium-body finish.
Flor del Montgo Tempranillo 2010
Flor del Montgo is a collection of wines focusing on the Spanish indigenous grape varieties from their historical appellations. This D.O. La Mancha Tempranillo is complex, expressing mature strawberry and blueberry with notes of cigar box and spices. Its deep violet color is lovely to look at, and it’s long-lasting finish is wonderful to enjoy.
Gladium 2010 Joven Tempranillo, Bodegas Campos Reales
This bright cherry-colored wine gives aromas of strawberry and blackberry. It’s black fruit forward with balanced acidity and smooth tannins.
Torre de Rejas Tempranillo Rosado 2010, Bodegas Lopez Mercier
Tempranillo makes lovely Rosado, the Spanish rosé. The Torre de Rejas Tempranillo Rosado is a light pinkish red with a nose of ripe red fruit. It’s fresh, elegant and filled with notes of red fruits, slightly spicy and fruity finish. Wonderful summer picnic wine.
Artero 2010, Bodegas y Viñedos Muñoz, S.L. de Noblejas
This dark cherry-colored wine hits the nose with dark cherries, same as its color, with notes of ripe red fruits that are very expressive. Lovely structure.
Another bright-cherry colored Tempranillo, this wine brings to the nose: cherry, herbs, red fruits. It delivers a powerful palate of black and red fruits with rounded tannins.
VIÑA CUERVA 2010, Bodegas Naranjo, S.L. de Carrión de Calatrava
Bright dark cherry colored and with a nose of red and black fruits. This well-structured wine delivers red and black fruits with hints of toasted oak, chocolate and plum. It’s soft, rounded tannins leave a lasting impression.
Fred Minnick is an international wine and whiskey writer/photographer. View his work at FredWrite.com.