Rioja - everyone has heard the name Rioja, but you'd be surprised the number of people who haven't a clue what the main grape variety is in it. The Tempranillo grape is indigenous to Spain, and although it has been cultivated for a thousand years, it's name wasn't really established as people just thought that the grape growing around their varied towns was different from those grapes around other towns.
The grape is grown in two main regions, Rioja and Ribera del Duero, but is also established in other regions and is known by two names in neighbouring Portugal - Aragonez in the Alentejo and Tinta Roriz in the Douro where it is often blended into port. As part of my attempt to try a hundred grapes in a year, I decided to try a wine that is made in the grape's homeland - Rioja.
2007 Dinastia Vivanco Crianza
This 100% Tempranillo is quite polished on the nose with big, sweet dried cherry aromas being cut with some cranberry. The palate is simple, light with some tannin coming to the fore and a drier, earthier palate acting as back up for the strawberry and redcurrant flavours. A bit of alcohol coming off in the mid palate with some spice, but some nice, old dried fruit flavours on the finish. A nice wine, showing restraint and resisting the all too often over extraction. 88pts