Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Post your Tempranillo GTi notes here

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 24, 2009.

Well good bye Pinot, for now, and Hola Tempranillo!

We now get started in exploring Spain's greatest grape but I am excited to see that many Californian producers have begun to experiment with this under appreciated variety. Much of California resembles some of the great growing regions of Spain so it will be exciting to see what winemakers have been able to produce and compare some of these wines against their Spanish counterparts. And the best news is that many of these wines are really affordable!

To get us started a note on a leaking magnum I shared last night:

Even this mid shoulder fill mag had some interest to offer. It was way maderized but still retained some intriguing aromatics and hints of once robust fruit that faded quite quickly. C'est la vie or perhaps more appropriately esa es la vida!

More to come as later this week I will be attending a great old Rioja dinner and the PTP tastings are shaping up nicely.

So pop a bottle of Tempranillo and share your impressions with the world of Snooth.


Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Feb 24, 2009.

Ok - finally one that I can do from memory. I just finished off a few bottles of Tempranillo with the Oscars.

A bright cherry colored wine - the color is kind of gorgeous, actually. When I opened it, some funk and old sock notes jumped out, but those blew off quickly. Nice youthful earthy, cherry and strawberry fruit. The fruit flavors continue on the palate where there's a hint of violet floral too; cherry, plum and strawberry lead up to a smooth, dry finish. This wine does not have buckets of complexity, but it won me over with its delivery of pure red fruit flavors.

Hey Rioja, you just got served by neighboring Navarra! No wonder no one in the UK wants your wines!

Reply by enjoyfinewines, Feb 26, 2009.

Conde de Valdemar Rioja Crianza 2004
COLOR: garnet to ruby layered tones with dark pinkish rim
NOSE: clean; moderate intensity with initial subtle port like aromas easing into cherry compote or plum cobbler along with red currant, brandied cherry, cinnamon, cloves, subtle eucalyptus/menthol, earth and leather tones.
PALATE: dry; medium bodied; tart cherry, plum and currants; chalk, dried green herbs, damp earth, smoke.
CONCLUSION: a nicely balanced wine that could go well with food or as a cocktail wine. According to the label, it is 90% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo with 13.5% alcohol.

Reply by enjoyfinewines, Feb 26, 2009.

Rioja Vega Rioja S.A. Joven 2006
COLOR: brightly layered from ruby center to pinkish then to clear rim.
NOSE: aromas of black cherry, blackberry, red raspberry, red currants, rose petals; subtle eucalyptus, menthol; also hints of green herbs like oregano and sage; minerality; smoke comes through indicating it was aged in barrels.
PALATE: jammy red cherry and raspberry; subtle blackberry, plum, red apple; green herbal notes like thyme; minerality; smoke also comes through in taste.
CONCLUSION: nicely balanced drink now type of wine; label says 90% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha (Grenache), 12.5% alcohol.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 26, 2009.

I love the brightness of the Joven Rioja!

I'll be adding a great line-up from last night but this looks like we're off to a great start!

Reply by enjoyfinewines, Feb 27, 2009.

Frog's Tooth Vineyards, 100% Tempranillo, Sierra Foothills, 2006

Last night I had a great opportunity to taste a unique California 100% Tempranillo wine from Frog's Tooth and really like it. Frog's Tooth is in Murphys, CA east of Stockton, towards Yosemite. They are a small family winery with limited production. The tasting was held at Federico's Cafe, Fremont, CA ( Their 100% Tempranillo is their signature wine which has gained a following and also garnered them several awards at different wine competitions. After tasting it, I can understand its following and recognition. They sold out of the bottles before I could get my hands on one.

AROMAS: fresh red cherry; dried strawberry; blooming roses; subtle minerality and earth.
PALATE: confirms the aromas with bright acid and tannins.

I believe this 100% Tempranillo can cellar for a while and get even better!

Reply by Philip James, Mar 1, 2009.

Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2004

Pretty cheap and cheerful - certainly fine for the price.
"An earthy, herbal, lightly tannic nose, leading to a dry, leathery yet fruity wine. Its pretty predictable, but alright. Mainly the dry tannins and cedar come through, but there are some plums and licorice notes too."

I need to raid the store to get some more wines for this

Reply by vigna uva vino, Mar 2, 2009.

Raul Calvo Tinto Roble Ribera Del Duero 2004

This red wine is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes from the Ribera Del Duero region of Spain... my wife bought this bottle at a charity auction for $5 and I was blown away by how good it was.

The color is a deep dark violet with intense floral aromas, bright black currants, and earth.

The palate is exploding with extremely ripe cherries and toasted oak, and a smooth tannic finish that reminds me very much of a Nero D'Avola from Sicily called Firriato Chiaramonte.

Reply by vigna uva vino, Mar 2, 2009.

Campo Viejo Crianza 2005 Tempranillo

From Rioja, Spain comes this wonderful Crianza ... aged for 12 months in oak casks and another 12 in bottle.

Dark ruby in color with warmer colors around the edges and a medium body, this has rich, jammy aromas and sniff, sniff... hmm, there are some horses in the barn... and a hint of minerality.

On the palate is a warm strawberry pie (you can almost chew it), super ripe plum and raw (as opposed to toasted) wood. Nice velvet tones at the end stretch across the finish line. About $10.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 3, 2009.

Nice job Dave, thanks for your contribution!

I had the following lineup recntly.

You could call it a very good night!

1976 Lopez De Heredia Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco Rioja Spain
A minor terpene note on the nose quickly blows off revealing a complex and compelling nose of roast tangerine, mineral, honeycomb, brushfire, and caramel corn, though more corn than caramel. The bright acids wash across the palate and lift the pink grapefruit, pomegranate and ranier cherry tones through to the rich, long finish with it's more citrus, orangy notes. Wonderfully evolved but still amazingly youthful; Drink 2009-2020 93pts

1981 López De Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Bosconia
The lovely wild cherry fruit on the nose is gently dusted with warm cinnamon spice and dried floral tones that are backed up by a touch of green tea and a musky, gamy note. Pristine and transparent in the mouth with bright, zesty acids that accentuate the raspberry fruit and balance the earthy, leathery notes that frame the fruit. Turns a touch dry on the finish with good resonance and a developing gamy edge. Love this fine blend of fruit and game. Drink 2009-2020 93pts

1978 Contino Reserva
Double decanted. Dark smelling with notes of freshly tilled earth, toast, grafite and black currant jam over subtle undertones of herbs and a little bubble gum. Opulent and soft in the mouth with anise seed tinged black raspberry fruit that is a bit creamy and one dimensional with a bit of distracting drying wood tannin on the finish. A fresh bottle that lacks evolution though I don't see this going anywhere special. 87pts

1976 Contino Reserva
A fine and complex nose with subtle balsamic, lemon blossom, vanilla, sandlewood and dried juniper tones framing nice wild cherry fruit. This is youthfully erect in the mouth with a layered elegance and lovely vibrancy right through the earthy, dried raspberry and strawberry filled palate. There's iron and spice on the backend that leads to a lovely, sinewy finish. This shows lovely integration and length and is really singing tonight. 92pts

1974 Contino Reserva
Wonderfully perfumed and floral on the nose with a gamy, white pepper edge and cranberry fruit. In the mouth this is relaxed and quite resolved with a dried out character. There is some nice bitter fruit but the wine is more about structure than flavor in the mouth, very leathery and dry as well as clumsy feeling. 85pts.

1973 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja
ovely warm fruit on the nose with a slightly jammy tone and backing elements of ass, ash, and polished leather. This gains a nice violet top note and has a deep, powerful bouquet. In the mouth this is elegant yet a touch shallow with nice fruit across the palate and on to the shortish finish. It's vibrant but fading a bit. 90pts

1970 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja
Herby and a bit of dry compost on the nose over clay and iron flecked rich red berries with a touch of coffee bean laid on top. Lacks the intensity of the 73. In the mouth this is a different story though as it remains rich with sweet, round fruit. The bright acids and polished tannins keep it relatively mouthfilling though it is elegant. With air this suffers, fading progressively through the night but for that first hour or so it's a beauty. 92pts

1970 Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia Gran Reserva
Opening with an herbal funky edge this gains a green citrus oil element then fermenting tobacco tones and a touch of nut oil sets off the black plum fruit. This is a little leathery with perhaps a touch of brett lurking. In the mouth this is round and rich yet with out the fine balance of the 1970 Tondonia, It comes off as a bit rustic in tonight's company with rich black currant and black raspberry fruit that has a touch of stemminess. The finish tapers off quickly leaving a bit of drying tannin and a tarry finale. Better on the nose but still quite good. 91pts

1970 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva
What a wonderful nose with smoky, earthy dried thyme tinged wild raspberry fruit that has a slight sweet/spicy cinnamon tone adding warmth and sweetness to the fruit. in the mouth this is just brilliant with a seamless quality to the transparent slightly jammy wild berry flavors. Fine and precise with perfect integration of the structural components allow this mature yet youthful wine to express it's perfectly ripe fruit without distraction. Totally captivating wine 96pts

1964 Bodegas Riojanas Viña Albina
Very smoky apon opening with an herbal/minty cough lozenge tone and a bit of sweet pork fat on the delicate nose, perhaps some faded dried floral tones are lurking in the background as well. In the mouth this is delicate and faded with a bit of bottle sweetness up front then a brittle mid-palate which shows some nice hot iron and raspberry tones. It's very gentle and front loaded with little follow through on the backend yet has a fresh feeling and a sneaky return of simple raspberry fruit on the feather finish. A nice little wine but one that can not stand up to a comparative tasting like this. 86pts

1947 Bodegas Palacio Rioja Reserva Especial
A ton of VA greets the nose followed by stale RC cola, bacon and a touch of fudgy oxidation. There is a subtle note of TCA lurking here with nice mace tones helping to conceal it. In the mouth this is heavy with great acids, crisp tannins and VA helping to keep things lively. I get a bit of TCA on the palate as well but the juicy pruny/dried cherry fruit is more than rich enough to compensate. The finish is short and fudgy, a fitting finale for this big, rich, simple wine. 85pts

1925 Marqués De Riscal Rioja Reserva
Sweet and earthy on the nose with notes of sauteed eggplant, roasted dark fruits and maderized tones in balance. Full and rich in the mouth with lots of dull fruit that is slightly roasted and chunky with a bit of a roasted beet root tone and a medicinal edge. The fruit gains a bit of focus with a nice cherry pie filling tone and a bit of apricot glaze but remains a bit rough around the edges and on to the moderate long finish. 89pts

Reply by MTB, Mar 3, 2009.

Recently had a chance to try the Bodegas y Vinedos Maurodos 2005 Prima Tempranillo: Deep red color; strong nose with hints of fruit and pepper. Very smooth, medium-bodied; notes of blackberry and plum. Pairs exceptionally well with food.

Reply by Winetattoo, Mar 3, 2009.

This wine was bottled in late July & after nearly six months in bottle, the dried cherries & raspberries are still in domination, although the tabacco & anise are gaining in balance. The subtle nuances of minerality are starting to show, but only after an hour in the decanter. The tannins are lingering softly & finishing long on the palette. I really think including a little over 10% Grenache & half as much Graciano in true Alta Rioja style really makes the signature on this wine & is responsible for these little extras across the finish.

Reply by Winetattoo, Mar 3, 2009.

This wine was bottled in late July & after nearly six months in bottle, the dried cherries & raspberries are still in domination, although the tabacco & anise are gaining in balance. The subtle nuances of minerality are starting to show, but only after an hour in the decanter. The tannins are lingering softly & finishing long on the palette. I really think including a little over 10% Grenache & half as much Graciano in true Alta Rioja style really makes the signature on this wine & is responsible for these little extras across the finish.

Reply by Adam Levin, Mar 3, 2009.

Cameron Hughes Lot 93 Tempranillo 2004
Delicious. Toast, chocolate, and tobacco on the nose. Smells rich but not overly ripe. Palate is very large with lots of interesting high and low notes. This could probably age a bit longer, but it is really good right now. Cries out for a nice grilled steak strip steak with charred ends.

Reply by Philip James, Mar 5, 2009.

Adam - Cameron Hughes wines are proving to be consistently very good values. Often need 6-12 months of aging, but they are great wines

Reply by Derek67, Mar 9, 2009.

Sunce 2008 Ripken Vineyard (Lodi) Tempranillo (Barrel Sample):
Huge vanilla, very light rose color and subdued cranberry/plum flavors. It will be interesting to see where this one goes in a year, or two.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 11, 2009.

Time to let this start it's slide down the page.

It sure was fun while it lasted.

AdiosTempranillo GTi!

Reply by darby, Mar 12, 2009.

Some Aussie Tempranillos are certainly worth a look if you can find them. There are now over 170 wineries using this exciting variety. They are listed on Vinodiversity.

I reckon Centennial Vineyards temp in the Southern Highlands makes a ripper. I included it in my best wines of 2008 at

If you are not in Australia you may find Brown Brothers Tempranillo among the easiest to track down. It has a wonderful middle palate without the dreadful heaviness on the finish characteristic of many Aussie reds.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 13, 2009.

Thanks Darby,

I went looking for a bottle here in NYC but as it turned out we didn't need any additional bottles. I hear great things about Tempranillo from down under and will be including them in our next look at Tempranillo.

Back to Categories

Popular Topics

Top Contributors This Month

259386 Snooth User: zufrieden
21 posts
1413489 Snooth User: dvogler
15 posts
357808 Snooth User: vin0vin0
4 posts


View All

Snooth Media Network