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Quick! What should I make for dinner? Tempranillo food pairing

You picked up a lovely bottle of Tempranillo you saw on Instagram. Now what? You aren’t a Tempranillo food pairing expert. You heard that white wines go with fish, and red wines go with meat, but is that it? Our palates are more diverse than that. What if you are a vegetarian? Do I serve red or white if my meal contains both meat and fish? What if I don’t like the kind of wine that traditionally goes with your meal?


You just want to enjoy your bottle of Tempranillo. But now it is becoming a hassle. Shouldn’t drinking be easy?

Of course, it should. There is no need to be uptight about what dishes to serve with your Tempranillo. I will simplify it for you. All you have to do is read this article while you…

Sit back.


And pour yourself a glass of wine.

About Tempranillo wine

What is Tempranillo? It is a black grape variety found in Spain. In Portugal they call it tinta roriz. The Spanish use it to create full bodied dry red wines. The Spanish exported some of these vines to parts of South America. You can find Tempranillo produced in Chile, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, and even the state of Texas. Tempranillo gets its name from temprano meaning early in Spanish. These grapes ripen before other red grape varieties in Spain.

Tempranillo tasting notes

This is a medium full bodied wine. That mean it is dry, full of tannins, and high in acidity. This is why it pairs well with meats such as beef and lamb. It cuts through those rich flavors.

Although the wine is dry, you will find fruity characteristics such as cherry, raspberry, or strawberry. Tempranillo can also have smoky notes.

Now for regular people. The best way to describe this is that after drinking Tempranillo, you are left with a feeling of velvet on your tongue. See if you don’t agree.

What appetizers to pair with Tempranillo

Since it is a Spanish wine, think tapas. Cured meats and cheeses make perfect accompaniments to Tempranillo wines. What about Tempranillo cheese pairing? Spanish cheeses such as Manchego pair well with Tempranillo. Farmers use the milk from the Manchego sheep to create this cheese. But you can also pair it with other sheep cheeses such as Pecorino.

Tempranillo food pairing with Moroccan bisteeya, harira, and cucumber tomato salad

Tempranillo food pairing- What’s for dinner?

Due to its full bodied profile, you want to pair this with a hearty meal. The acidity cuts through proteins, so meals such as stews, grilled meats, and spicy foods create a sensational Tempranillo food pairing. Middle Eastern foods, due to the complexity of spices also go great with Tempranillo. You can even pair it with beans or fish, if the fish is cooked in a heavy stew or sauce.

Make sure to pop the bottle in the fridge 20 minutes before serving to get the best taste.

Is there any scientific basis to wine and food pairing?

According to Science Daily Japanese scientists state that pairing red wine with fish can cause a fishy aftertaste. This occurs due to natural iron in fish. This explains why you might not get that aftertaste when pairing red wine with fish served in a heavy tomato sauce. Also, red wines low in iron won’t react as strongly with the iron in the fish, leaving less aftertaste.

What are we pairing with our Tempranillo?

Just our luck. We had plans to cook Moroccan food to sample while watching the Morocco episode of Rick Steves’ Monday Night Travel. Question: What wine do we serve? I figured Spanish wine would make sense, with Spain being only a 40 minute ferry ride away from Morocco. Tempranillo it is!

Our Tempranillo for the evening: Pajaro de Buen Aguero

This came in our first shipment from Wine Insiders. The name means bird of good omen. Hopefully it will bring us good luck! This Tempranillo comes from the Spanish wine region of Carinena, located between Madrid and Barcelona. The area has extreme temperature shifts which slows the ripening of the grapes. This in turn softens the tannins.

While I couldn’t taste cherries or blackberries, I could tell it had a medium to full body. Certainly I am no expert at explaining the complexities of wine. But I will say this wine made a great match with the complex flavors of Moroccan cooking. Thumb’s up!

What did we pair with our Tempranillo?

I cooked up some bisteeya, a chicken pie in phyllo dough mixed with almonds egg and cinnamon sugar. I made some lentil and chickpea stew, called harira. We used some toasted pita bread to scoop that with. Then I realized our meal didn’t include as many vegetables as I like. I took some tomatoes and a cucumber and tossed them together with oregano, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil. Of course I sprinkled in some salt and pepper. Delicious!

What Next? Try your own Tempranillo food pairing

Now you have learned the basics about Tempranillo, it’s time to head out to the store. Grab a bottle… or two… to try for yourself. Then stop at the local market to pick up some food to pair with your Tempranillo. Make an evening of it. You can even play some Spanish music while you cook. Let me know how it comes out!

Donna Emperador is a creative blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and wine. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time traveling and making wine culture easier to understand for readers.

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