Grape Varieties of Argentina
Tempranillo is the classic grape of Spanish Rioja, and is a native of northern Spain. While thick-skinned and consequently fairly tannic, it has both low acidity and low sugar – which means it typically produces lighter-bodied wines.
These characteristics can also make it difficult to craft into a varietal with depth and interest. For that reason, it is often blended – for example, in Rioja, it is typically combined with Garnacha (Grenache). Tempranillo is also frequently given liberal treatment in oak, and due to its tannic content ages well.
The grape is commonly associated with flavours of lighter, livelier red fruit such as strawberries and fresh red cherries. When oak aged, its fruit tends to darken, taking on plummy notes, as well as boldly reflecting the oak influences of vanilla and other spices.
Tempranillo is sensitive in that it does best in cooler regions and needs careful water management. This makes it well suited to some of the micro-climates in the Andean foothills around Mendoza. However, its characteristic as an earlier-ripening variety also makes it robust and versatile in that it doesn't require a long, intensely warm ripening season.