Food Pairing with Tempranillo

Tempranillo wines are perhaps one of the most food-friendly wines around. Why? Because of their bright fruit and earthy flavors, firm tannins and balanced acid levels.

We have approximately 20 acres of Tempranillo planted at our Estate vineyards producing 3-5 various styles of Tempranillo each year. This past week our 2008 Tempranillo, a lighter, less tannic style of Tempranillo, was released in our Tasting Room. For fuller-bodied styles try our 2006 Estate and 2005 Reserve Tempranillos. Both styles lend themselves perfectly to food pairing. Here are some food pairing suggestions for our signature varietal:

  • An easy tip to remember in food and wine pairing is that the food from the region typically compliments the wine from the region (e.i. sangiovese and spaghetti). The same goes for Tempranillo. It can hold up to Spanish style dishes (paella, tapas, chorizo) and other strongly flavored foods. Earl Jones discovered Tempranillo enhanced the spicy meats and peppery foods he enjoyed and that's how the dream of Abacela was started back in the 1960s. 

  • Sheep farming is a major industry in the Rioja and Ribera del Diero regions of Spain. Roast lamb, along with sheep milk cheeses, are ideal accompaniments to Tempranillo. 
  • The rugged, earthy character and fuller body make Tempranillo a natural for pairing with grilled items, from hamburger to steak.  
  • Tempranillo is typically higher in tannins. Tannins are a plant plyphenol that comes from the skins, seeds and pips of the grapes.  They can feel astringent when young in the mouth, but act as a preservative in the wine and mellow out over time. Tannins can cut through foods higher in fat like creamy mushroom risottos. 


  1. Everything in that photo looks yummy...any names of the dishes and recipes?

  2. We can definitely post some of our favorite recipes. Check back soon!


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