McLaren Vale Tempranillo
As the grape growers and winemakers of the McLaren Vale Wine Region adapt to climate change, seeking out varieties that are resilient to heat and require less water is high on the agenda. Tempranillo is one of these varieties and is growing in plantings in McLaren Vale thanks to its ability to thrive in a warm climate.
Tempranillo is a black grape variety that originates from the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe. The variety is widely grown in Spain and is a component of Rioja wines but it is also making a big name for itself in Australia.
The increasing popularity of Tempranillo in Australia has see this grape variety make strong strides from its Australian alternative grape variety status towards almost being considered a mainstream variety.
In addition to the environmental considerations, the ability of Tempranillo to both produce high-quality single-variety wines and blend seamlessly with other varieties, such as Grenache, has seen plantings of Tempranillo in the McLaren Vale Wine Region increase from 57 hectares pre-2016 to 73 hectares planted as of 2022.
Tempranillo wines from McLaren Vale are generally medium-bodied, fresher style Tempranillos. They are savoury, spice-driven wines that are saturated in colour and retain a balancing acidity. McLaren Vale Tempranillo can be enjoyed room temperature or chilled - perfect on a hot summer’s day!
Did you know? A McLaren Vale Tempranillo Grenache recently won the Best Wine of Show in the 2023 McLaren Vale Wine Show.
Here's some McLaren Vale Tempranillo and Tempranillo blends to try:
Chalk Hill Wines 2022 Tempranillo Grenache
Winner of Best Wine of Show in the 2023 McLaren Vale Wine Show
The blending of Tempranillo with Grenache sees each variety bringing flavours that enhance the other. Tempranillo with cherry, leather, dark berries, plums and spice, while the Grenache brings floral notes, strawberry, raspberry, liquorice and orange rind.
Owner Tom Harvey says: This wine is a crowd favourite with universal appeal, the wine shines for its approachable, flavour packed and easy-drinking qualities.
Pair with: Rich, savoury dishes to complement its bold flavors; great food wine.
RRP $30 | Drink to 2027 | Vegan Friendly
Hedonist 2022 Tempranillo
Winner of Best Mediterranean Red Variety in the 2023 McLaren Vale Wine Show
The fruit for the Hedonist Tempranillo is sourced from Hedonist's Willunga foothills estate vineyard & an iconic vineyard from Kangarilla’s sandy soils, a relatively cooler site within McLaren Vale. This certified organic/biodynamic wine is driven by crunchy acidity and superfine, chalky tannins, which give rise to a stony, savoury and lengthy palate.
Winemaker Kimberly Cooter says: The 2022 Hedonist Tempranillo is certified organic and biodynamic, farmed with minimal inputs. The fruit is sourced from Hedonist's Willunga foothills estate vineyard & an iconic vineyard from Kangarilla’s sandy soils, a relatively cooler site within McLaren Vale. In the winery it’s treated with a hands-off approach during fermentation, it’s then maturated in older 300L French oak for seven months. Seasoned oak was selected for its minimal oak influence to keep the wine fresh and retain primary fruit characteristics. The growing season provided superb ripening conditions, ensuring balance and harmony is the resulting wine.The palate starts with juicy red fruit driven by crunchy acidity with layers of savouriness and complexity. It's vibrant yet focused with superfine, chalky tannins, which give rise to a stony, savoury and lengthy palate.
Pair with: It pairs beautifully with paella and pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces.
RRP AUD $28 | Drink to 2030 | Vegan Friendly
Where to buy outside of South Australia: The Hedonist Tempranillo is distributed by Whole Bunch (NSW)
Fox Creek 2022 Tempranillo
Clean, bright and garnet in appearance. Strawberry fruit mingles with dried herbs, hints of potpourri and olive on the nose. Bright red berry fruits provide sweetness and weight to the palate while a grippy, but structured tannin profile coat the mouth from start to finish.
The Winemaking: Produced from a single vineyard, planted on an ancient sandhill located in the heart of McLaren Vale. The fruit was carefully crushed to small stainless steel open fermenters where it was carefully hand plunged twice a day until dryness. Once dry, it was gently pressed to both old French oak puncheons and stainless steel. The wines were then left to mature for approx. five months before being blended for bottling.
RRP AUD$29 | Drink to 2025
Ministry Of Clouds 2022 Tempranillo Grenache
This wine combines lifted notes of pomegranate, sarsaparilla, violets and nutmeg typical of McLaren Vale Tempranillo, with the red berried perfume and succulence of old vine Grenache. This medium bodied wine is pretty, but deeply flavoured, and deliberately moreish. A lithe and juicy wine, it errs on the blood orange, cherry, red berry spectrum on the palate supported by a long line of ferrous tannin.
Owners Bernice & Julian say: When we made our first Tempranillo Grenache in 2012, we had no idea how it was going to go. There weren’t any other Tempranillo Grenache blends in the market that we knew of at the time. 12 vintages later it’s great to see many other expressions of this blend in the market including the 2022 Chalk Hill Tempranillo Grenache picking up the McLaren Vale Bushing Trophy this year. How cool! For us, this wine aims to capture the timelessness of San Sebastian pinchos bars and their delectable morsels of deliciousness. But hopefully equally at home gracing our tables of our homeland… a wine about versatility and grace reflecting the myriad of cultural, culinary and social influences we embrace in modern Australia.
Pair with: Ideal serving temperature is 16 degrees. The most versatile wine in our range.. Try it with meats, game, poultry and seafood alike... grilled, stewed or with a whack of spice... east and west, variety is best. Be adventurous and give it a test!
RRP AUD $32 | Drink to 2030 | Vegan Friendly
Orbis Wines 2022 Tempranillo Grenache
The two varieties were handpicked separately, the tempranillo was 100% destemmed, and the Grenache whole bunch fermented in stainless steel. Both were naturally fermented with indigenous yeast and matured in 25% new French Oak for 8 months, and blended after maturation. The wine exhibits rose petal, cola and strawberry juice, with a stalky bramble finish.
Winemaker Lauren Langfield says: Tempranillo is a really great grape variety to make blended wines with because it can be expressed in so many different ways with only a little manipulation in the vineyard and in the winery.It can show rich leather, tobacco and deeply spiced characters, and it can also show fresh berry fruits and really bright young wines, and everything in-between.Our Tempranillo Grenache blend works so nicely together because neither varietiy dominates, the final wine is the best of both grapes.Pair with: I love to serve this wine with a richly spiced beef targine. It really compliments the earthy dried spices and the deeply flavoured meat, while the nice acidity and bright fruit flavours keep the combination fresh. This red blend isn’t just for cooler nights either, with the earlier picked style and whole bunch characteristic, its just as suitable for summer nights.
RRP AUD $38 | Drink to 2025 | Vegan Friendly | Unfined and Unfiltered
Paxton Wines 2022 Tempranillo
On the nose expect dark boysenberry fruits played off against floral prairies meeting the edge of the forest floor bringing a touch of wild herbs and peachy musk undertones. On the palate, balanced soft acid is punctuated by dusty sandalwood notes from the delicate hand of oak and finished with bites of crusty blueberry pie.
Pair with: Tapas, roasted vegetables and Mexican food such as nachos, burritos and any dish with corn as a major ingredient.
RRP AUD $25 | Drink to 2032
Where to buy outside of South Australia: Red Bottle Shops in Sydney | Black Hearts and Sparrows | The Burnley
Samuel’s Gorge 2022 Tempranillo
Tempranillo thrives in warm weather, under blue skies and without too much water, making it well suited to growing in McLaren Vale. The vines here ripen early and produce quite small, concentrated fruit. These berries when fermented slowly and carefully on the verandah of Samuel’s Gorge result in a wine that is bright, savoury and full of texture.
Winemaker Justin McNamee says: The 2022 vintage is currently displaying notes of strawberry seed, boysenberry and bresaola. This contrast of fruit and savoury notes carries on through onto the palate, as flavours of forest fruits entwine with wild fennel and pouch tobacco. Medium bodied, with well-integrated, velvety tannins, this wine can be enjoyed in its youth or with a bit of age behind it.
Pair with: Silver beet and ricotta ravioli, swimming in passata made with the last of the season’s sun-ripened tomatoes.
RRP AUD $45 | Drink to 2028 | Vegan Friendly
Where to buy outside of South Australia: Available all over Australia, head to your nearest quality wine merchant.