Tempranillo, the primary red grape of Spain’s Rioja region, has been planted in the Pacific Northwest since at least 1995, when Earl Jones at Abacela put his first vines in the ground in the Umpqua Valley near Roseburg, Ore.
From there, the rustic and robust red variety has spread throughout the Pacific Northwest into Washington, Idaho and British Columbia – albeit in small amounts. In Oregon, fewer than 400 acres are planted. In Washington, the tonnage is not yet large enough to be measured separately.
However, winemakers and wine lovers alike are beginning to appreciate Tempranillo, and we are seeing more and more bottlings of the wine. And it is a versatile food wine. A few favorite pairings include:
- Grilled portobello mushrooms
- Lamb chops
- Prime rib
- Meat lovers pizza
- Bacon cheeseburger
Following are a few Northwest Tempranillos we’ve tasted recently.