Did You Know: Tempranillo


Otherwise known as Tinta Roriz, Tempranillo (temp-rah-nee-oh) is one of the lesser-known, more exotic red varietals grown on our farm, and is a key component of our signature Nativo Red Blend. It makes up 2-8% of the blend yearly, depending on the annual yield, and is an integrative part of the Nativo identity.

This popular Spanish cultivar is an early-ripening grape, the name originating from “temprano” meaning “early” in Spanish. While not technically a Rhône cultivar, it shares a root flavour profile with its Rhône cousins Syrah and Mourvèdre and contributes depth of colour and structured tannins to our red blend. While traditionally used in blends in its homeland and abroad, it also stands bold and beautiful on its own when treated with respect. To further explore the capabilities of this unique cultivar, in 2019 we decided to add a pure Tempranillo to our limited edition Nativo range. This will be released in the second half of 2021, and will be one of only a handful of single varietal Tempranillo wines made in South Africa.

While this cultivar faced initial controversy because of doubts surrounding its identity, it is now widely assumed that all Tempranillo plants cultivated in South Africa post-2006 are true Tempranillo (Tina Roriz), and it started being planted in abundance in the Swartland area from 2010 onwards due to this cultivar’s high adaptability to extreme climates. Currently, it is the 12th most planted red varietal in the Swartland, and continues to grow well in our area and on our farm, being well-suited to our unique clay soils and harsh summers. While it likes a good drink of water, it does well even under the stress of dry-land farming conditions and constantly amazes us with its impressive and luscious canopy during the summer.

Tasting Notes & Pairings

Tempranillo is a deep, intense-coloured, medium- to full-bodied varietal with medium tannins and medium acidity, making it a perfect blending partner for Grenache, Mourvèdre,  or Syrah. It carries earthy notes with ripe berry, cherry, blackcurrant and plum, and sometimes a bit of leather, tobacco, dill and clove on the nose. The new world Tempranillo wines, like ours, offer dark fruit flavours, and the berry-and-spice profile carries well with the gentle but structured tannins that follow.

Pairing this wine is easy: It does splendidly with tomato-based dishes, barbequed meats,  smoky dishes or even those exotic Mexican-styled flavours. It is a wildly diverse food pairing wine and it will be difficult to go wrong with your pairing options.

If you would like to taste the elegant influences of this very special cultivar, check out our Nativo Red Blend 2018 or come and visit us for a chance to taste our pure Tempranillo pre-release