We were excited to recently attend the recent 2015 TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society) event that is held every year in San Francisco. While we have been to this in past years, we wanted to get updated on some of the great wines grown from grape varietals that migrated from Spain and Portugal to the U.S. This event features the grapes varietals from over 30 U.S. wineries—varietals like tempranillo, garnache, albarino, verdejo, graciano, mouvedre, touriga and souzao. While most of the wineries were based in California (including Paso Robles, Livermore, Calistoga, Healdsburg, Santa Maria, Los Olivos, Napa), other wineries came from Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, and New Mexico.
Having recently attended a Spanish wine tasting from Castilla La Mancha region, we were interested to see how US wines compared. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the blind “shoot-out” seminar that tasted Spanish tempranillos versus domestic ones to see exactly how the wines compared. Maybe next year. But we did enjoy tasting the current releases. Some of our favorites were (with approximate retail pricing):
- Kenneth Volk:2012 Verdelho Pomar Junction Vineyard in Paso Robles for $18; 2012 Grenache Rio San Benito Vineyard for $30; and Tempranillo Bella Colina Vineyard for $40
- Dos Cabeza Wineworks from Arizona: 2012 Aquileon Cochise County blend of tempranillo, mouvedre, graciano
- Clayhouse Wines 2010 Casa de Arcilla Tempranillo from Paso Ribles (a steal at $18) and 2011 Estate Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon, which also contains syrah and tannat (a grape we didn’t know of but which is a blending grape with high tannin) from Paso Robles ($25)
- Caduceus Cellars 2013 Tarzan New Mexico tempranillo/primitivo ($30)
- Riaza Wines: 2012 Tempranillo, El Dorado County ($26)
- Trenza Wineries: 2011 Trenza Tinto, San Luis Obispo County, a blend of syrah, tempranillo, mourvedre and malbec at $21
So many interesting wines. Although we don’t need an excuse to open a bottle of wine, I have an idea that on Thursday, November 12, 2015, we just may open up and enjoy a bottle of tempranillo for International Tempranillo Day, a day where people are encouraged to celebrate the grape and share their experiences online the hashtag #TempranilloDay or #Tempranillo. Humm, but which one?