Tempranillo is an Iberian speciality, widely grown in Spain, where it is the major component used to make their most famous red wines; Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra.
It makes elegant wines, concentrated with summer fruits and savoury character that is complemented by the vanilla essence imparted by ageing in toasted oak barrels. It is often found as part of a blend, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to give an element of Bordeaux character to Navarra, and with Garnacha to soften and flesh out Rioja.
Known as Tinto Roriz in Portugal, it is one of a number of dark, thick-skinned varieties that grow in the northern Portuguese wine regions including the Douro where it is used to make Port.
Tempranillo is found to a lesser extent in Argentina and Australia but never finds the same quality, lacking depth of flavour.