Tempranillo [tem-prah-NEE-yoh, tem-prah-NEE-lyoh].  An important red wine grape native to northern Spain and widely cultivated in the northern and central parts of that country. Tempranillo produces its best results in the cooler growing regions of Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta, RIBERA DEL DUERO, and parts of PENČDES. In these areas, Tempranillo can generate deep-colored wines with characteristics of strawberry, SPICE, and fresh TOBACCO. Because of its lower ACID and ALCOHOL levels, Tempranillo is usually blended with other grape varieties. It's a principal component in the famous RIOJA wines, which are usually blended with Garnacha (GRENACHE), Mazuelo, and GRACIANO. It's also the dominant red variety of VALDEPEŅAS and LA MANCHA; both areas call the grape Cencibel. In different regions of Spain, Tempranillo goes by various names including Ojo de Liebre, Tinto Fino, Tinto del Pais, Tinto de Toro, and Ull de Llebre. Argentina is one of the few places outside of Spain where Tempranillo is widely planted. In the Portugese regions of Alentejo (where this grape's called Aragonez) and DOURO (where it's known as Tinta Roriz), Tempranillo's a minor grape used in PORT production. There's speculation that Valdepeņas, a secondary grape used for JUG WINES in California, might actually be Tempranillo.


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