Catching up with Tempranillo

A Special article for Fans of Tempranillo and Rioja


Earlier this week, we wrapped up our focus on Tempranillo wines with a final look at Rioja. Before we close this chapter of our Global Tasting Initiative, I am thrilled to report about an exciting event that took place here in New York City this week.

Tempranillos al Mundo is a global competition that seeks out the finest Tempranillo wines from the world's great wine growing regions. I participated as a judge in this seventh edition of the annual event. Over the course of two days, five groups of judges tasted some 417 Tempranillo-based wines, ultimately rating one as the finest example among them all. In the process, we awarded tens of silver and gold medals to a slew of impressive and fine wines.

The grand prize winning wine is not yet available in the U.S. market, even I have only been able to taste last year’s version, but the wine from this Bodega, while new to me, has grabbed my attention. I tasted a less expensive bottling of this producer's Reserva just this past week with impressive results, but the Great Gold Tempranillo prizewinner promises to blow that wine out of the water!

That Great Gold Tempranillo prizewinner is the Mirto de Ramon Bilbao. I was very impressed with Ramon Bilbao’s 2005 Reserva, and this wine simply takes everything to another level. We were able to taste and judge the pre-release bottling of this wine. Though only the 2005 wine is currently available at retail, this is a wine to watch out for.

Another wine worth looking for is the very impressive 2008 Dinastia Vivanco 4 Varietales. This is a classic Rioja blend of mostly Tempranillo, with Graciano, Garnacha and Mazuelo all adding great richness and complexity to this powerful yet elegant wine.

126 wines received honors during the Tempranillo al Mundo 2011 tasting, including the one “Great Gold,” as well as 55 gold medals and 70 silver.

These wines came from around the world. Submissions were received from 12 countries, with winners from Argentina, the U.S. and Greece all sharing the podium with the heavyweights from Spain. It is no surprise that Spanish wines dominated the tastings, seeing as Tempranillo dominates much of the Spanish wine industry. Rioja and the Ribera del Duero took home the vast majority of medals, though many other regions, perhaps less well known for their wines, joined these powerhouses.

I am thrilled to have been part of this great event that was designed, in the words of President of the Spanish Federation of the Enologist Association of Rioja Antonio Placios Muro, “to celebrate the potential of Rioja!”

After traveling the world through Stockholm, Rioja and Paris, this seventh edition was brought to New York with the help of Kevin Zraly. Zraly is not only responsible for “helping to position Tempranillo in the U.S.,” but has also “helped to make Tempranillo al Mundo one of the most important international tastings of monovarietal wines,” according to Muro.

For more information on Tempranillo al Mundo and a complete list of award winners, please visit:

My top 10 list of Tempranillo al Mungo Gold Medal Winners includes:

1. 2006 Ramon Bilbao Mirto

The Great Gold Tempranillo Prize Winner

2. 2004 Ortega Fournier Alfa Crux - Argentina
3. 2008 Dinastia Vivanco 4 Varietales - Rioja
4. 2004 Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Gran Reserva - Rioja
5. 2008 Pago de loss Capellanes Tinto Crianza - Ribera del Duero
6. 2006 Conde de Valdemar Reserva - Rioja
7. 2007 Tinto Campo Viejo Reserva - Rioja
8. 2009 Contino Vina del Olivo - Rioja
9. 2007 Hovey Tempranillo Rolleri Cuvee - California
10. 2008 Bodegas La Cepa Alta Laveguilla Crianza - Ribera del Duero

Great Tempranillo

Top Tempranillo Picks for Thanksgiving

6 Top Rioja Gran Reservas

5 Great Rioja Reservas

7 Top Riojas

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Samter
    554053 3

    Approximate retail prices would help.

    Nov 18, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network