If you enjoy red wines, you may recall my suggestion a few weeks ago to take a step off the beaten path and try Lemberger for a change of pace. Although it’s not exactly a mainstream varietal, it’s got plenty of appeal for fruit-forward wine drinkers and won’t cost you a small fortune.
This week I’d like to toss out another lesser-known, slightly higher priced red wine for you to try if you haven’t already done so – Tempranillo.
Tempranillo is indigenous to Spain and is one of the most widely grown and important red wine grapes in that country. It’s produced in small quantities in Washington, Oregon and California and is characterized by medium body and complex flavors. It can often be substituted for a Cabernet Sauvignon in food/wine pairings.
Here a couple of Tempranillos for you to consider:
2002 Abacela Vineyard Winery (about $19) – From Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, here’s an outstanding Tempranillo that begs to be served with food. Featuring flavors of plum, blackberry and cedar, I recently tried it with a spicy stew of clams, Portuguese sausage and cilantro. The match of food and wine flavors was absolutely perfect.
2003 Seven Hills Winery (about $28) – This Walla Walla Valley Tempranillo is dense, complex and aromatic. Dried dark cherry flavors are highlighted by savory herbs and hints of leather and smoke. It’s a bit of a splurge for something as ordinary as pepperoni pizza, but the two make a terrific combination as an easy dinner. Pop the cork, call for delivery and enjoy!