An Approach To Approachability…Through The Wines of Tempranillo
It is often I find myself at the center of a conversation; of course one of the reasons for this is that I’m slightly narcissistic of my thoughts, but more so it is because I am a very approachable human. Did you ask how or why? I ask myself the same questions all the time. Here are some of the consistently pondered ones :
- is it because I’m a shorter human, therefore less intimidating for those carefully choosing to dominate me? (are they in for a treat with me then)
- is it my smile, the big toothy one that can radiate energy and shift the room within a flash of it?
- is it my eagerness to be ahead of the awkward curve?
- could it be my boobs? (ok, ok that is just a funny one)
- so then what is it about me that draws people to reach MY gaze and find and fill MY circle of energy?
Let me try to expand my understanding, and hopefully yours, by equating it to another lil’ temptress, the sassy, spicy Tempranillo grape.
Tempranillo can be so many things for those who enjoy it, dare I even say a “people pleaser”, but I prefer not to lessen it’s charm with such catch phrases, but it does do just that. It pleases; and not only for those who know it well, but also for those who do not yet know of it’s approachability.
Not connecting with Tempranillo’s approachable nature would only happen under strict circumstances; not knowing about the grape, never trying the grape, and never seeing this spicy, plump grape in action out of the bottle, especially from its native land, Spain. I have met the gaze of this variety, come into its blue energy and have found myself dominated by it’s charms. So now it is your turn.
Let me tempt you with Tempranillo and show you how approaching the approachable grape can turn you onto a new way of thinking and drinking.
First a lil’ history.
Proof of wine in ancient Spain was discovered in 1972, when archaeologists unearthed a mosaic of the wine god Bacchus at Baños de Valdearados in North-central Spain. Tempranillo may well have been the wine shown in the mosaic because it has been in Spain since 800 BC.
Bad ass grape if you ask me!
It is the main grape on the plains in Spain and used for the regions of Rioja, Ribera del Duero, and Navarra. This thick-skinned grape has a tendency to ripen early, a name likely coming from the Spanish word temprana.
Unless aged for many years this wine tends to be medium-plus to full bodied with aromas & flavors of sweet & sour fruits. Strawberries, red cherries, dried plum, along with dried herbs, fresh tobacco, coconut, dill and leather. Tempranillo is often blended with other red grapes such as Garnacha and even Cabernet Sauvignon in the wines of Toro & Ribera del Duero.
Tempranillo(tem-prah-NEE-yo) : the most planted red variety in Spain, where it is known by countless other names locally. Tinto del País, Tinto Fino, Cencibel – nearly every region has a different name for
it. It is indigenous to Spain, and it is the primary grape of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, two of Spain’s top red wine DOs(Designation of Origin)
- art/Sweet Red Fruit – Red Cherry, Strawberry, Red Currant, Sour Asian Plum, Dried Plum
- Red & Purple Dried Flowers – red rose, pink rose, lavender
- Sweet Tobacco, Dill , Sweet/Sour Sauce, Iodine, Dried Leather, Sage, Tomato Leaf, Spice, Baked Earth, Clay , Cedar; Coconut & Dill if aged in American Oak
- firm tannins
- bright acidity
- loves oak, both American and French
A beautifully versatile grape that can produce crisp, fruity Rosado(rosé) and Joven(young) wines, easy drinkers named Crianza, big-daddy beasts with high concentration and flavor, and finally, dusty, traditional, oxidative reserva and gran reserva styles(wines aged for 4 & 5 years respectively). This is one eager to please, VERY approachable variety, and not just to have in the glass to quench the thirst but as a perfect food pairing on the palate. Here are some suggestions my friends.
- When you want a quaffable wine choose the rosado or joven. Let sweet and sour strawberries and tart cherries tease the tongue. If you must have the food then try goat cheese and fresh fruits, sashimi, grilled veggies, and bar-b-que. But make sure you’ve bought or have been given the current vintage for these wines. Best when fresh! Even better when there’s a second bottle.
- Crianza wines, those aged for only 2 years sing sweetly with their juicy, bright cherries, textured strawberries, soft violet florals, sweet chocolate and gentle vanilla tones. These treats make a great pair for baked pasta dishes, roasted fish, curry,spicy delights, and creamy, dreamy cheeses.
- Now for those big daddy wines that burst with intensity and power. Dense, voluptuous red fruits and rich toasted vanilla wrapped around sweet tobacco, and clove. What a compliment for those foods that mirror the emotions of a well-seasoned, dynamic and dominant dish. Go big or put the glass down.
- Now onto the elite Reserva and Gran Reserva. These wines hold the distinction of grace under barrel. With that age comes the seductive qualities of blackberries, dried reds, dried flowers, balsamic, and cocoa…I’m ready for my dinner now and a bottle of Marqués de Murrieta Castillo de Ygay Gran Reserva. So what should we have to eat? Lamb, braised meats, confits of fowl, hearty soups and stews, risotto, and PIZZA(ok pizza with them all)!
So there’s our approach to approachability with wine. How are you going to be approachable on the Planet? The great thing is you can be any way you want to be, just like our lil’ temptress Tempranillo. There are varying levels of how near or far you can allow yourself to be or others to be with you…the goal is to become approachable with YOU, all the varieties of you. It’s your time to shine and my time to go drink some wine!