Control your Tempranillo

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What is the Tempranillo Grape?

Ola! Spain is the world's third largest producer of wine. It has more than 2.7 million acres of grape vines and there are over 600 varieties of grapes grown in Spain. The Tempranillo grape is an early ripening grape and is the most grown grape in Spain.

The Tempranillo (tem-pra-NEE-yo) grape is also grown in Mexico, New Zealand, South America, United States, South Africa, Australia, Turkey and Canada.

Tempranillo is also known by the names of Tinta del Pais, Tinto Fino, Cencibel, and Ull de Llebre.

The Tempranillo grape is what provides the quality and body to many Spanish wines. It is considered to be a black skinned grape so it produces wines that are very dark in colour.

As the Tempranillo grape does not have a strong flavour profile of its own, is not usually bottled on its own as a single varietal, but is most often blended with other grapes.

The Tempranillo grape is the primary grape used in Rioja wines. It is combined with the Garnacha grape. If you recall the Bordeaux blends, the Tempranillo grape would be the Cabernet Sauvignon equivalent (providing the aging power), and the Garnacha grape would be the Merlot equivalent (providing the deep flavour).

The Tempranillo grape is a key ingredient in many Port wines. A Tempranillo wine would pair well with tapas, lamb or Spanish dishes.

Summer Fun with Tempranillo

Sangria is a beverage from Spain and Portugal. It gets its name from its dark colour as the name translates to "bloodletting."

Sangria began to be developed about2,000 years ago when the Romans were ‘visiting' Spain. At that time water was dangerous to drink so alcohol was always added to kill the bacteria. The alcohol was usually wine as there was wine in almost every household.

Spices and fruits were then added to give more character to the drink, and Sangria was born!

It was not until the World's Fair in New York in 1964 that Sangria was introduced to North America.

There are many variations to making Sangria. Here is chef Bobby Flay's recipe:

• 2 bottles Tempranillo wine

• 1 cup brandy

• 1/2 cup triple sec

• 1 cup orange juice

• 1 cup pomegranate juice

• 1/2 cup simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves, cooled)

• Orange slices

• Apple slices

• Blackberries

• Pomegranate seeds

Mix the ingredients together and let stand in a tightly sealed container or pitcher for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Wine Trivia

In 2011, the top five wine-producing countries in the world were France, Italy Spain, United States and China. Canada ranked 31st.

In 2012, the top five wine-consuming countries in the world were the United States, France, Italy, Germany and China. Canada was not in the top 15.

In 2010 the total wine consumption around the world was a whopping 31.68 billion bottles.

Q: Do you know why people ‘clink' their wine glasses before they drink?

A: According to, it used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would then drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would then just touch or clink the host's glass with his own!

In the Vineyards

The vineyards across Nova Scotia are in different stages of ‘bud burst' where the vines are starting to come alive after our cold, harsh winter.

There is, hopefully, a long summer ahead of us so there is no rush for the buds to develop too quickly as late spring frosts can do severe damage to the new buds.

In some parts of Ontario the very cold winter damaged 75 to 90 per cent of the grape crops with the severe colds in the heart of winter - not even waiting for the spring frosts to inflict major damage.

Wine Review

The Temperamental Truro Daily News Wine Tasting Panel recently tasted the 2009 Hoya De Cadenas Reserve Tempranillo. It is produced by Vicente Gandia from Valencia, Spain and it is made from 100 per cent Tempranillo grapes.

It is available from the NSLC for only $15.99. Proof again this month that you do not need to spend a fortune for a nice bottle of wine. The gold medal on the bottle that states "Excellent Value for Money," and it is not misleading.

As it is a 2009 vintage, this wine has already been allowed to age for five years so it will have some maturity and is ready for consumption.

The wine has a smooth nose of spice, vanilla and leather.

It tastes of light tannins and has a balanced and smooth spiciness with tastes of berry and vanilla.

Overall it is a very pleasant wine with an enjoyable spice. It has a nice mouth feel.

It is very food-friendly and it is likely meant to be consumed with food, and not on its own. It would certainly hold its own with Spanish dishes.

The alcohol content for this wine is 12.5 per cent. The temperamental tasting panel rated this wine 10.25 out of 12.5 per cent.

Al Begin is the chief sangria mixer for the Temperamental Truro Daily News Wine Tasting Panel. You can send your wine questions, gifts or recommendations, to him at



Organizations: Summer Fun, Apple, Daily News Temperamental Truro Daily News Wine Tasting Panel

Geographic location: Spain, United States, Canada Mexico New Zealand South America South Africa Australia France China Portugal New York North America Italy Germany Nova Scotia Ontario Valencia

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