Tempranillo is the most popular red grape of Spain. It has extremely high-quality potential and is suited to extended oak ageing. Tempranillo produces wines that are dark in color, with pronounced strawberry and plum notes on the palate. It has medium-high levels of both acid and tannins.
The grape was brought to America, possibly as seeds, with the Spanish Conquistadors in the 17th century, where it has largely retained its genetic identity and still strongly resembles its Spanish ancestors. Due to its high susceptibility to pests and diseases (particularly phylloxera which devastated stocks in the 19th century and still threatens the vines today), Spanish Tempranillo has long been grafted onto more resistant rootstock, resulting in a slightly different grape style to those grown today in Chile and Argentina. Despite its apparent fragility, Tempranillo travelled widely during the last century and, following much trial and error, has become established in a surprising number of countries worldwide.