Known for being Spain’s most famous red grape, tempranillo is used to make a large variety of Spanish red wines. It is the main grape in the region of Rioja and the main grape in Rioja wine, which some compare to Burgundy. While the grape is often used in blended Spanish wines, non-blended tempranillo is being produced more now. (It is also produced simply as a tempranillo wine in other countries as well.) Various clones have come to adapt to the different Spanish regions, and because of this, wines can seem so different despite using the same grape. This red wine is consistently well balanced and the amount of tannins allows it to age for longer periods. Tempranillo often has a cherry flavor while also carrying an earthiness to it. It goes by many different names in Spain including cencibel, escobera, tinta del toro, and ull de llebre, which translates to “eye of the hare”.
Food it pairs well with: Grilled/roasted meats; Dishes with red sauces; Spanish Tapas;
Recommended Recipe: Hanger Steak with Shallots and Mushrooms from Food & Wine
- One 1 1/2-pound hanger steak
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
- 1/2 pound white mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 6 shallots, very thinly sliced (1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
How to make:
- Brush the steak with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet until nearly smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then add the steak and cook over high heat, turning once, until well browned outside and medium-rare within, about 12 minutes. Transfer the steak to a plate, cover loosely with foil and let rest.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Mix in the sliced shallots and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes longer. Add the red wine vinegar and cook until evaporated. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Slice the steak in half lengthwise, cutting on either side of the sinew that runs down the center. Thinly slice the steak and transfer to plates. Add the parsley and any accumulated meat juices to the mushrooms. Spoon the sauce over the steak and serve.
Recommended CO Wines: Balistreri Colorado Tempranillo; Alfred Eames Cellars Tempranillo; Wild Women Wine Tempranillo; BookCliff Vineyards Tempranillo; Avant Vineyards Tempranillo (Spanish Varietal and Limited Edition)