Tapas... mmm... mouth-watering, delicious finger-foods and dishes from the great regions of Spain.

Tempranillo... mmm... silky, red wine from Spain that complements all kinds of tapas.

Have I captured your interest yet? Can you taste that wonderful food? Can you feel that Spanish wine sliding over your tongue and the full flavours exploding on your taste buds?

Hang on for a minute...

I discovered lately that there is an International Tempranillo Day. It was started by TAPAS—Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society. TAPAS has stated that from now on, International Tempranillo Day will be held on the 2nd Thursday in November, so for this year, that means Nov 10th was the day. I know I’m a little late but I’m willing to bet that most people never knew there even was an International Tempranillo Day!

I found the creation of the special day amusing because Tempranillo wine is best known as a Spanish noble grape, and of course the Spanish are well known for their yummy tapas! Every time I travel to Barcelona and other general Spanish regions, I am always on the hunt for great tapas (which are not hard to find) and the best wine to go with them.

So what’s the big deal anyway? Well, I love Spanish wine. And as it turns out, a lot of the people whom I introduce Spanish wine to also love it. In fact, some of them won’t drink anything else after. And why care about Tempranillo? Well, I care because it’s a great grape variety from which winemakers can make fabulous wine! In fact, Tempranillo wine is Spain’s answer to Cabernet Sauvignon. For the longest time, the Tempranillo grape was mainly found in Spain, but it’s now making its way around the world; especially to places where there are hot, dry climates like California, Australia, and some countries in South America.

I love to wander through wine store aisles and look for the best Spanish wines made from Tempranillo. As I’ve studied wine, worked in wineries, made wine, and travelled through many wine countries, I’ve come to appreciate the art of blending wine made from different varieties of grapes. So now, I look for wine blends that include Tempranillo—those bottles may also include Granacha (Grenache), Mazueolo (Carignan), Graciano, Virua, and Monastrell. Of course, one of my favourite activities is to visit a wine store in Spain, or better yet, a winery, and then taste wine made from the local blends.

Wine from Tempranillo grapes is made in almost all areas of Spain. It is also favoured in Catalunya, a region that I consider to be one of the best places to visit in Spain. Here’s a little known wine-geek fact: Tempranillo in Catalunya is also known as Ull de Llebre which roughly translates to Eye of the Hare (use that as an ice breaker to impress your guests the next time you pull out a bottle of Spanish wine for dinner).

So why do Tapas go hand in hand with Spanish wines so well (or any other wine for that matter)? Well because the focus of the meal is no longer on the food. Unlike a full-course meal, tapas only offer portions of flavours that complement the wines you are tasting with your food. You are not over-eating but combining flavours in elegant symmetry, like a taste bud musician.

Whether in Barcelona and Catalunya, looking for a great bottle of wine and some good food, or you just want something to sip on and eat casually, I urge you to think about Spanish wine and tapas. Better yet, I invite you to join us in one of our Wine DeTours in Spain to enjoy the food and wine first hand!