Wine Lists

Tempranillo to try

By Halliday Promotion

10 Apr, 2024

These three tempranillos are full of flavour and fruit purity. And did we mention that they're all under $35? Add these wines to your list.

In Spain there are many names for its most famous grape – in Ribiera del Duero it is known as Tinta del Pats, in Valdepenas as Cencibel, and in Portugal as Tinta Roriz. In Roija, as in Australia, it is called tempranillo. Although it is the most widely planted grape in Spain, and is popular across the southwest of Europe, in Australia the plantings are small.

Riverland is the highest producing region in Australia, followed by Murray Darling in Victoria, Murray Darling in New South Wales, the Riverina and the Barossa Valley. However, it can be found in a number of other regions throughout Australia, as proven by the three tempranillo wines below. Full of flavour, finesse and all priced below $35, these wines are perfect for you to try now. 

De Bortoli

De Bortoli winemaker

De Bortoli Wines Yarra Valley Estate winemaker Jono Thompson says: The Woodfired brand encapsulates the authenticity of Heathcote and represents the unique geography, climate and growing condition of the famous region. Each Woodfired wine has its own brooding personality which is perfectly crafted to accompany any chargrilled foods. This wine will display ripe dark cherry characters, complemented by notes of cedarwood and coffee. With a soft and velvety texture, it offers a savoury yet delightful tasting experience.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
JT. This wine was destemmed and fermented at 25–30 degrees over 10–20 days; pressed and matured in vats and casks for approximately five months. It was racked and aerated regularly to soften the abundant grainy tannins and the vineyards were carefully selected for a balance of fruit weight and ripeness.

H. What are the challenges when it comes to producing tempranillo wine?
JT. The difficulty is harvesting at the perfect moment – being an early ripening variety, it can become overripe if not monitored closely. The other challenge is getting the extraction of the granular tannins well balanced. This is achieved from careful fermentation management. The aim is to achieve a salivating granular tannin structure without making it too chewy or too simple.

Wine to try

De Bortoli bottleshot

2021 De Bortoli Woodfired Heathcote Tempranillo

Intense dark colour red with purple edge. Ripe, dark cherry characters, cedar wood and coffee, soft mouth feel, savoury but delicious, authentic and rustic. 

Best enjoyed: This is a versatile tempranillo that can be enjoyed throughout the year, whether it’s a casual dinner at home or accompanying a warm, cozy meal during the cooler months. Our top pairing recommendation for this wine is chargrilled red chorizo and pimento peppers or manchego cheese. We suggest serving the wine in a medium-size red wine glass at a slightly cooler temperature than room temperature.

RRP $21.95 | Drink to 2028 | Shop this wine |

Tim Gramp Wines

Tim Gramp winemaker

Winemaker and owner Tim Gramp says: I had the fortune of visiting Spain and meeting Spanish winemakers in 2014 and 2015. They were generous in sharing their winemaking techniques and it inspired me to stylistically make this wine in a Spanish tempranillo mould (medium bodied, savoury fruit accents, seasoned oak use and approachable drinking at release).

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
TG. We collaborated with the grower in selecting a distinctive clone suited to the Clare Valley. Soil profile is important and the tempranillo vines are grown on red loam over friable limestone. This helps to give that savoury/spice character on its progression through ferment. I basket press all my reds and with the tempranillo, it assists in producing a wine with a voluptuous mouthfeel.

H. What are the challenges when it comes to producing tempranillo wine?
TG. It starts in the vineyard. Tempranillo is somewhat susceptible to heat, so you need to maintain a good canopy with a sensible water regime. Pruning techniques also play an important role. Good flavour profile is very critical and needs to be checked on a daily basis. In the winery, skin contact has to be carefully monitored to allow for a good pH/TA balance.

Wine to try

Tim Gramp bottleshot

2022 Tim Gramp Clare Valley Watervale Tempranillo

The fruit for this wine was sourced from a single site vineyard in the famous Watervale region. It has complex savoury aromas of blueberry and dusky brooding spices. The palate is a sensuous mix of savoury and spice, balanced with fine tannins. A juicy round mid-palate and good length of flavour is a result of time honoured basket pressing. 

Best enjoyed: This tempranillo is an all season wine, but it is particularly comfortable as an outdoor wine at family and friends barbecue gatherings. We have good success in getting a lot of restaurant listings with this wine, due to its versatility as a food wine. I prefer to use large format glassware such as the RIEDEL Extreme red wine glass. Temperatures of 15–17 degrees are good for this style of wine, however, during warm to hot days, there is nothing wrong in chilling it down to 12–13 degrees.

RRP $23 | Drink to 2031 | Shop this wine |

Willow Bridge

Willow Bridge winemakers in vineyard

Winemaker Kim Horton says: Willow Bridge has a commitment to showcase the true character of tempranillo from our vineyards. From the richly aromatic blueberry and plum to the rustic palate with long, sinewy tannin. We want consumers who are unaware of the tempranillo character to taste and smell our Solana Tempranillo and immediately be besotted with its differences from cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
KH. The importance of timing of harvest is a crucial aspect – pick too early and the tannin remains dry and rough, pick too late and tempranillo becomes bereft of character. Once harvested, our winemaking process is all about enhancing the natural qualities, thus limited new oak, no lengthy maturation and no over extraction of tannin. We really wish to retain freshness and vibrancy.

H. What are the challenges when it comes to producing sparkling wine?
KH. One of the more distinctive traits of tempranillo is its tannin profile. Deft fermentation management is required during vintage to prevent course tannin structure or over extraction. Whilst tannin in tempranillo is a feature of the wine character and style, we still require balance and finesse.

Wine to try

Willow Bridge bottleshot

2021 Willow Bridge Solana Tempranillo

Aromatics of rose hip, licorice and black jube, blueberry fruits with dark plums. Powerful, long and lingering. Loads of plum and dark berry fruit sitting neatly with savoury tannin and licks of vanilla.

Best enjoyed: The style and rustic nature of tempranillo that we produce at Willow Bridge screams food. We recommend roast lamb, with all the trimmings! Sometimes decanting younger vintages is also helpful to soften the tannin a fraction and breathe some of the primary fruit characters back into the wine. 

RRP $35 | Drink to 2032 | Shop this wine |