We deliver Australia wide
Call 1300 303 307


The maximum quantity permitted for this item is , if you wish to purchase more please call 1300 303 307
What is Tempranillo wine?

What is Tempranillo?

As Tempranillo is still quite an emerging variety here in Australia, we often get asked “what is Tempranillo?” And, “how do you pronounce Tempranillo?

So, let’s get started! Regarded as Spain’s noble grape, Tempranillo is mostly commonly known throughout the world as the main grape variety used to make Rioja. Its name comes from the Spanish word, temprana, which means early, referring to the fact that it’s an early-ripening red variety. As far as the pronunciation goes, it is tem-pra-nee-yo – you don’t actually pronounce the two letter ‘Ls’.

Shop Tempranillo

In Australia, Tempranillo is taking off, having been planted throughout our wine growing areas. Some of our regions having the greatest success with it are Adelaide HillsMcLaren ValeHeathcote and Margaret River.


What is Tempranillo?

Australia's plantings of Tempranillo are increasing thanks to it's attractive colour and it's juicy, rustic fruit profile.

Tempranillo wine infographic Australian Tempranillo stating that thrives in moderate to warm climates.

Tempranillo thrives in moderate to warm climates such as Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine regions. It is of similar weight to Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese.

An infographic showing recommended food pairings of tapas style dishes for Tempranillo wine

Tempranillo pairs with tapas dishes to match with the savoury characters.

An infographic describing that Tempranillo can be cellared for 10 years.

Tempranillo can be cellared for up to 10 years.

An infograhic on the mid-weight wine profile of Tempranillo wine

Tempranillo is a mid-weight profile wine.

Fun fact infograhic on Tempranillo wine stating that Australian Tempranillo originates from Spain

Did you know that Tempranillo originates from Spain?


Where is Tempranillo wine from?

To tell us more about this Spanish temptation, we caught up with Peter Leske, whose Adelaide Hills-based brand, La Linea, is almost exclusively focussed on Tempranillo, as well as Natasha Mooney, another winemaker with a penchant for Tempranillo from the Adelaide Hills, and Frank van de Loo of Mount Majura in the Canberra District.

Firstly, let’s answer the question “where does Tempranillo come from? While Tempranillo is thought to have originated in the Spanish wine region of Rioja, its versatility and the fact that it thrives in heat and drought has seen it spread right across the Iberian Peninsula. And, like many ancient varietals, it has mutated many times; in fact, there are over 500 known clones of Tempranillo and it goes under a host of different names. For instance, in Catalonia it is known as Ull de Llebre, South of Madrid as Valdepenas, in La Mancha, it’s Cencibel, in Ribera del Duero it is called Tinot Fino, while over in Portugal’s Douro, it masquerades as Tinta Roriz.

Tempranillo is the diminutive of the Spanish ‘‘temprano” meaning “early”, as it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes.



Rioja a Spanish term referring to the provenance of the wine – like Champagne in France. In the Rioja region, the wines have to include at least 95 percent Tempranillo and they’re made in four different styles. Starting with the everyday drinking Rioja, next comes Crianza, then Reserva and at the top level, Gran Reserva. 



Brown Brothers Banksdale Tempranillo vineyard in the King Valley

Brown Brothers Tempranillo vineyard in the King Valley.

Australian plantings of Tempranillo are increasing and thanks to its attractive colour, juicy, rustic fruit profile and food-friendly nature, it’s popular with those keen to expand their vinous horizons. So, where is Tempranillo grown in Australia?

Tempranillo has only been planted here for about 20 years with two of the first producers being Victoria’s Brown Brothers and Yalumba in the Barossa. Their first vintages (around 1994) were encouraging enough to continue experimentation with newer clones also being trialled. Since then, Tempranillo has been planted in many regions across the country, all with relative success.

I think Tempranillo is very well suited to our climate. It ripens earlier in the season and therefore can often miss a lot of the really extenuated hot weather that we get towards the end of summer. The fruit flavours are ripe, balanced and pure at an earlier stage so that avoids excess sugar, and therefore alcohol, which is harder to avoid in other varieties.

- Natasha Mooney, Winemaker from Adelaide Hills

Both Nastasha and Peter make Tempranillo using fruit from the Adelaide Hills, with Peter putting the region’s suitability down to it being, “That much cooler, allowing natural acid retention (Tempranillo is naturally a low acid grape), and the conditions guarantee a certain brightness and freshness, plus intriguing aromas of garrigue (think Mediterranean dried herbs) that add an extra note of interest.”

Despite its tendency drop acid while on the vine, Tempranillo has shown in a relatively short time that it is entirely well suited to parts of Australia, both warm and cool. In warmer climes its generosity of black fruits, spice and sunny disposition is welcoming. What the grape lacks in sophistication it makes up for in pleasant drinkability.

In cooler climes, where Tempranillo grapes are in top demand, the flavours are finer, more subtle, with red and black fruits, spice and herbs, and because these wines aren’t carrying a heavy weight, Tempranillo’s meagre acid backbone isn’t taxed quite as much. Sometimes savoury nuance surfaces, sometimes a textural loveliness.

Tempranillo could probably only be exceeded by Pinot Noir in the extent to which Australian winemakers have shared their early experiences with the variety. This has really helped us move quickly towards finding the best styles to make in different regions.

- Frank van de Loo, Mount Majura, Canberra District

To learn more about the experiences of some of Australia’s top Tempranillo makers, read our article State of Play:Tempranillo article.


Best Australian Tempranillo regions


  • Barossa Valley, SA
  • Clare Valley, SA
  • McLaren Vale, SA
  • Margaret River, WA
  • Rutherglen, VIC
  • Riverina, NSW
  • Riverland, SA
  • Hunter Valley, NSW



  • Adelaide Hills, SA
  • Beechworth, VIC
  • Canberra District, ACT/NSW
  • Eden Valley, SA
  • Mornington Peninsula, VIC
  • Hilltops, NSW
  • Heathcote, VIC



Wine tasting Tempranillo - swirling wine in a glass

Tempranillo has delectable blackberry, black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and cloves characters.

Tempranillo’s appeals are many, but Peter does a fine job of summing it up: “It’s what I call ‘Pinot Noir on steroids’: all the fragrance and perfume of Pinot, plus a bit more mid-palate flesh, colour and tannin. I love its beautiful cherry and raspberry fruit, and savoury finish without alcohol kick. And I quite like the fact that it’s so pretty in its youth, but develops complexity quite quickly in bottle.”

While Tempranillo is full of red fruit flavours, it certainly isn’t a sweet wine. Tempranillo gets flavour at lower baumé than some other varieties, so is perfect for a savoury, mid-weighted, moderate alcohol style. Enjoy its delectable blackberry, black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and cloves characters. 



While Tempranillo is full of red fruit flavours, it certainly isn’t a sweet wine. Tempranillo gets flavour at lower baumé than some other varieties, so is perfect for a savoury, mid-weighted, moderate alcohol style. Enjoy its delectable blackberry, black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and cloves characters. 



While they have a similar red fruit characters, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon are different varieties. Cabernet Sauvignons deliver much more tannins, and in Australia feature a rich palate of black fruits like blackcurrant, black cherry and plum, with varietal characters of liquorice, mint, cedar and even eucalyptus.

We also often get asked, ‘is Tempranillo is similar to Merlot?’. While they both share a similar weight, Merlot delivers a soft texture and medium tannins, and is considered a good red choice for white wine drinkers. 



Tempranillo is medium-bodied to full-bodied with red fruit characters and is similar to Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese.



Tempranillo is medium-bodied to full-bodied with red fruit characters and is similar to Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese.



Despite its naturally lower levels of acidity, Australian Tempranillo has the potential to be cellared for 5 to 10 years.



So, what do you eat with Tempranillo? With its spicy, berry-fruit muskiness and mouth-filling tannins, and of course, its origins, it’s no surprise that Tempranillo is a perfect match with tapas. Being quick and easy, offering lots of different tastes in one sitting, and extremely social, tapas really suites our Aussie lifestyle. So, open a bottle of Tempranillo with friends over shared plates of chorizo, jamon, patatas bravas and gamey paella.

Natasha agrees, saying her favourite food match for Tempranillo is: “Easily a plate of tapas like prosciutto, olives, Manchego sheep’s milk cheese and really good bread. It helps if you’re sitting in a cantina in Barcelona but a Spanish wine bar in Australia is a really good second best.”

But Peter has an Italian take: “Oddly, as it’s a Spanish grape, probably a classic Italian antipasti plate… all those diverse savoury flavours and textures.”

Aussie Tempranillo is also super-delicious served with spicy seafood and Mexican dishes.

For a quick look at what pairs with Tempranillo check out these tasty dishes and recipes.


Miguel Maestre's Manchego cheese sticks with tomato jam


Chorizo mushrooms


Lyndey Milans Mexican Pulled Jackfruit Tacos

For more fabulous Spanish-inspired flavours to make and enjoy at home, check out our flavour-packed Tempranillo and food matching guide!

Published on
31 Oct 2023


Discover more red wine varieties

Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
1 case has been added to your cart.
Cart total: xxx
1 case, 12 bottles, 3 accessories