Brian K Miller wrote:I've only had a few Tempranillos, but I do tend to notice a distinct "blueberry" tone to the flavors..
Tom N. wrote:I guess I still like Joe Perry's definition of tempranillo's uniqueness the best: "I identify Tempranillo based on the structure, nose, acidity, body, mouthfeel, etc..
Rahsaan wrote:Overripe fruit and sweet oak?
Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Welcome Joe, good stuff! As a matter of interest, what would one pay for Riedels in your area and are they discounted!?
I just paid $34 Cdn for the riesling/chianti glass.
Victor de la Serna wrote:Interesting thread, this, but a frustrating one – it seems the final result is "there's no clearly recognizable feature in tempranillo."
To begin with, the title of the thread was "Does tempranillo have a signature taste?", not "Does tempranillo have a signature aroma?" Yet I see that several of the responses (like "i have never stuck my nose in one and said 'ah, tempranillo'") center on aromas, not flavors (which I guess is the more precise wine-related term for 'taste'). This is interesting and partly defines the problem.
Tempranillo is not an aromatic grape variety – far from it. That, and its notorious acid deficiency, are its main drawbacks. But it certainly isn't a flavorless variety. What happens is that many tasters instinctively rely on aromas to describe flavors – after all, many of the 'flavors' we perceive are really aromas that we capture through retro-olfaction (the wine-tasting action in which air is expelled through the nose while the wine is in the mouth in order to better appreciate certain aromas). But flavor and aroma are still not synonyms.
What happens with tempranillo is that its own delicate, slight aromas are easily overtaken by oak, be it new or relatively new, and we wind up not getting anything other than the oak and some vague fruit overtones. The new oak may also be prominent in the mouth, although the original flavors are more prevalent. Then, in 'traditional' Rioja wines – which are the vehicle through which 90% of international wine drinkers discover tempranillo – there are two other, important barriers: if it's a young wine, the tempranillo aromas will be overtaken by those of the other grapes in the usual blends (garnacha, mazuelo, graciano), and if it's an older wine the long aging in used American oak will have its usual effect: primary (fruit) aromas and flavors will be overcome by tertiary (aging) aromas and flavors, so that the cedar, vanilla, and coconut tones will be absolutely prevalent.
In parallel, the flavor also changes. Few unoaked tempranillos (often made through carbonic maceration of whole clusters in Rioja – the classic young 'cosecheros') ever make it to the US market. They show the primary flavors of tempranillo vividly: lots of ripe red berries (strawberries, raspberries, Morello cherries), some dark berries (blueberries, black currants, less frequently blackberries), with frequent notes of liquorice and, in southerly tempranillos, orange peel. No red currants or pepper as in the Bordeaux varieties; riper, less acidic and simultaneously more tannic than sangiovese.
In older wines, whatever the type of oak aging they have undergone (if it hasn't been totally invasive), tempranillo will take on its own tertiary characteristics that are independent of that oak – particularly, a soft tobacco leaf character that will accompany but not fully supersede the red fruit component.
Thomas wrote:Good information, Victor. Thanks.
My only shock through this thread is to discover that Riedel has glasses for Tempranillo. That company certainly has a fantastic business model. They must have figured out the number of grape varieties in the world and then said, "WOW, we can create glasses for each one, and then maybe start creating glasses for each and every blend known to the universe!"
Wish I had thought of that...
Hoke wrote:Rahsaan wrote:Hoke wrote:some weird variety like Muscat
For apparently not thinking that Muscat is a quirky grape.
Well, in ampelographical terms, it's been around for a whole hell of a lot longer than your upstart Cabernets and bastard Chardonnays (Gouais, anyone?).
It has a storied history---and pre-history history--- and has been celebrated by the Greeks and Romans in antiquity, enjoying sufficient popularity to spread through pretty much all the wine-growing cultures. It has also managed to be a constituent grape in a vast range of superb wines...as well as more than a few mediocre ones, sure.
You seem to be intent on pursuing a nebulous and vague, virtually indefinable (or at best infinitely multi-definitional) phantom of a "noble" grape variety, yet put one of the oldest of the old world wine grapes into nothing more than the 'weird and quirky' category, dismissing it from consideration?
As best as I can tell, you seem to include as one of the characteristics of a "noble" variety the ability to impart a distinctive quality from the grape to the wine. Does Muscat not do this...and in such a way to put other varieties to shame? I would imagine popularity would have to come in to play as well, since unpopular wines would by definition not stay around long enough, or be widespread enough, to become "noble" in the first place? And is Muscat not one of the most widely propagated grapes around the world, in ubiquity of locations if not always in volume?
It might interest you to know that many wine writers/catalogers include in their lineup of "noble" varieties, the grape Semillon. I would say that Muscat would be a far superior candidate for inclusion into the club of nobility than Semillon.
But Muscat quirky? Yeah. As if all those multi-generational inbreeders and social parasites we call the nobility weren't quirky as well?
FYI, before you continue this discussion any further, you probably ought to drop the misnomer "noble" and come up with a better word, else you will never be able to define your terms and come to any sort of agreement (or stalemate).
Howie Hart wrote:What am I missing here?
Tom N. wrote:Hi Bob,
I would support a tempranillo open mike!
To the two Victors. Great posts. That is what I like about this forum, there is so much expertise that seems to come from all over the world, I just find myself learning more and more. I just love it!
Victorwine wrote:I think you are misunderstanding us Joe, we are not saying Tempranillo wines or Tempranillo based wines are not aromatic, all we are saying is the grape variety posses certain pre-cursors which during fermentation (through the action of yeast and bacteria), during its blending process, aging process. (Bulk and bottle aging. One note about aging, from this amateur winemaker’s point of view, once a given percentage of alcohol is present and the juice could be now considered wine, the aging process commences), these pre-cursors develop into the aroma and flavor profile of the wine. This could be perceived by some as being highly or intensely aromatic and flavorful.
By aromatic grape variety, I mean when one crushes, de-stems and separates the solids from liquid by gravity filtering through double cheese cloth; one can sample the (unfermented) juice and say- Wow this is ________. When it comes to most of the grape varieties and “non-aromatic grapes”, including Tempanillo this isn’t so easy, especially if you are blindfolded. (Got to admit, each grape variety’s grape juice does have a different color tint to it, making identification easier, or you can narrow it down at least. Unless one is extremely knowledgeable and experienced with a given variety this task could be difficult).
I disagree with Victor's statement that Tempranillo is not an aromatic grape. In fact, the idea is ridiculous.