Famous by the wines being produced in Spain’s Rioja region, this is Spain’s native top grape variety. If Tempranillo is to Rioja as Cabernet is to Bordeaux, and Pinot Noir to Burgundy, then this noble red-grape variety is nothing to be shy about. Producing dry, scented, medium-full bodied red wines worthy of aging. They are classified in Spain by how long they age in oak barrels. Bolder Tempranillo’s can show old-fashioned, top quality, mature richness. Pair these with gourmet burgers, lamb, and other red meats. For the more fresh styles (less aging) try baked pasta and white meat fare.
Other notable regions are Ribera del Duero and Toro in Spain, and Douro Valley and Alentejo in Portugal where it is known as Tinta Roriz or Aragonêz.