Tempranillo is Spain's answer to Cabernet Sauvignon and is the main grape for the moderate climate region of Rioja. It ripens early, but the shorter growing cycle allows it to thrive in Rioja's harsher climate zones.
The grapes are thick skinned and capable of making deeply coloured and long lasting wines (albeit not notably high in alcohol). The wines have medium acidity and tannins and strawberry flavours. Much of the character comes from the oak aging which gives coconut and vanilla flavours to the wine. Over time, some meat, leather and mushroom flavours can develop.
Ribera del Duero is a cool region also ideally suited to Tempranillo. The wines have blackberry and plum notes and toasty oak flavours.