By Jen Pfeiffer
Well there is no doubting that winter is definitely upon us, with plenty of frosty mornings and the occasional rainy day. We all love red wine in winter, with its lovely warming qualities. We take comfort in a nice spicy Shiraz with a beef curry; a lovely, brooding Cabernet Sauvignon with our favourite roasted dinner; or even a soft, subtle Pinot Noir with a braised chicken dish.
What you may not know is that these varieties are all originally French varieties. In fact, the majority of varieties planted in Australia are descended from France.
As the wine industry has evolved, and winemakers have learnt about wines from other places in the world, we have seen the introduction of new and interesting varieties in this country. So this winter, can I encourage you to take that bold step into the unknown and try a red made from a variety you are not so familiar with.
Tempranillo (pronounced Temp – ra – knee – oh) would be my first recommendation to anyone wanting a new wine experience. Tempranillo is one of the main red varieties in Spain, and is found also in Portugal, where it is called Tinta Roriz.
Both Spain and Portugal have a climate that is similar to Australia, with warm summers and autumns. So there are plenty of similarities between Australian wines and Spanish and Portuguese wines, including a generosity of fruit, and a fullness of style.
The flavours in Tempranillo wines are red berry and cherry fruit, with plum, spice and chocolate characters often evident. Tempranillo wines also can show an earthy minerality or savouriness on the finish, which make them great food wines.
When matching Tempranillo with food, let’s first think of Spain. A lighter bodied Tempranillo would go really well with tapas – think chorizo, some marinated mushrooms, olives and jamon (dry cured ham). For a more full bodied Tempranillo, try it with grilled or roasted meats, particularly lamb and beef.
So please, come in from the cold with the spirit of adventure and try a Tempranillo this winter.