By Nadia Virani, OD
I am currently in Mexico City welcoming in the spring air with a spectacular glass of Casa Madero Tempranillo wine.
Tempranillo wine, which is most commonly a mainstay of Spanish growers in the Rioja region, is one of my favorites, especially early in a warm evening when the sun begins to set on those first warm spring days when you can finally smell the aromas of blossoming new growth.
The Tempranillo grape comes from the Spanish word Temprano, which translates to “early.” It was given this name because it ripens well before other varietals and for hundreds of years was thought to be a Pinot Noir.
Much like a Pinot Noir, Tempranillo wine is soothing, easy to drink and typically has a variety of flavors as it opens up – making it a universal favorite with my friends and loved ones.
Although originally from Spain, the Tempranillo grape was brought to Mexico in the 16th century.
Many are surprised by the abundance of vineyards in Mexico because of the warm, tropical climate. The 30th parallel line straddling the equator is typically considered a boundary for good grape growing. La Laguna in northern Mexico defies this theoretical boundary line.
La Laguna sits about 120 miles west of Monterey. The region sits in high altitudes so the climate is arider and cooler than one would expect. Perfect for grape growing — most specifically, warm climate grape varietals such as Tempranillo.
In fact, La Laguna is home to the oldest vineyard in North America — Casa Madero, founded in 1597!
As winter finally becomes spring, I encourage you to enjoy your first outdoor happy hour with friends and a bottle of smooth Tempranillo.
Missed previous installments?
Read the story about how and why Dr. Virani became a wine sommelier here.
Read Dr. Virani’s wine fun facts here.
Looking for a romantic, date-night wine? Read Dr. Virani’s choice here.