A beginners guide to White Rioja wines

A beginners guide to White Rioja wines

Rioja, a Spanish white wine, is having a moment. And not just because we're all looking for a crisp, refreshing wine to pair with our grilled meats and seafood. No, Rioja is having a moment because it's good. Really good. In fact, it might even make you rethink your red wine habit.

rioja grapes

White Tempranillo

Spain is well-known for its red wines, but what about its white wines? In particular, what about tempranillo white wine? This lesser-known varietal is having a moment, and we think it's time you gave it a try. Here's everything you need to know about tempranillo white wine, including where it comes from, what it tastes like, and what foods it pairs well with.

rioja blanco

Tempranillo is best known as a red grape varietal, but did you know that it can also be made into a white wine? That's right—tempranillo white wine is a thing, and it's absolutely delicious. If you're new to Spanish whites, tempranillo is a great place to start. This varietal is approachable and easy to drink, with a taste that is both fruity and fresh. And because of its relatively low acidity level, tempranillo blanco wine is incredibly food-friendly. In other words, it pairs well with just about anything.

Where Does Tempranillo White Wine Come From?

Most tempranillo wines are produced in the Rioja region of Spain. The climate here is warm and dry, which helps the grapes reach full ripeness. As a result, Rioja tempranillos tend to be richer and more full-bodied than their counterparts from other regions. If you're looking for a tempranillo that packs a bit more of a punch, look for one from Rioja.

rioja blanco gran reserva

What Does Tempranillo White Wine Taste Like?

Tempranillo white wines are typically light-bodied with moderate acidity levels. On the palate, you'll find flavors of citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit, as well as green apple and honeysuckle. These wines are meant to be enjoyed young—within two years of harvest—so don't worry about cellaring them. Just pop open a bottle and enjoy!

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Pairing Tempranillo White Wine with Food

As we mentioned before, one of the things that makes tempranillo white wine so special is its versatility when it comes to food pairing. Whether you're serving up seafood or roasted chicken, this varietal will complement your dish perfectly. Not sure what to serve with your tempranillo? We suggest trying it with shellfish like oysters or shrimp, or pairing it with goat cheese or citrus-based salads. Trust us—you really can't go wrong.

verdejo vanilla pear viña

Rioja White wines

This grape variety comes from a natural genetic mutation found in a single cane of a red Tempranillo vine, discovered in an old vineyard in Murillo de Río Leza (La Rioja) in 1988. Clusters are medium-sized and loose, and the berries are also medium-sized and slightly flattened. It is late both at bud break and in arriving at veraison but it ripens early. Total acidity remains high, with high levels of malic acid.

garnacha blanca aged full bodied

Its wines have a high concentration of volatile compounds with fruity aromas. Its wines offer excellent sensory characteristics, just like the red Tempranillo. They are yellow-green with characteristic intense aromas of bananas and citrus and tropical fruit, underscored by floral and terpene notes. Well-balanced in the mouth, with medium-long structure and persistence. It does not exist anywhere else in the world.

Rioja Tempranillo white wines are also available in rosado (rose) varieties. Rosado Riojas are made from a blend of red and white grapes, and they have a pinkish color. These wines tend to be fruity and light-bodied, making them a good choice for summertime sipping.

rioja region viura 48 months

Types of Rioja Tempranillo Whites

There are two main types of Rioja Tempranillo white wines: Crianza and Reserva. Crianza wines are made from grapes that have been aged for two years, while Reserva wines are made from grapes that have been aged for three years. The longer the grapes are aged, the more full-bodied and complex the flavor of the wine will be.

Crianza wines are typically lighter in color and have more fruit flavors, while Reserva wines are darker in color and have more complex flavors. both types of Rioja Tempranillo white wines pairs well with food, although Crianza is better suited for lighter dishes and Reserva is better suited for heavier dishes.

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No matter what your flavor preference is, there's sure to be a Rioja blanco wine that's perfect for you. So next time you're at the wine store, be sure to pick up a bottle (or two) of this delicious Spanish wine!

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