“You’re getting into red wine. You’re craving something different. Something savory. Enter Tempranillo, Spain’s #1 wine grape.” - Wine Folly
Tempranillo is a red grape varietal from Spain. The name means “little early one” referencing its earlier ripening than many other Spanish red grapes. The first official mention of Tempranillo was in 1807. Although, Tempranillo is thought to have originated in the Iberian Peninsula and has been around since Phoenician settlement, over 3,000 years ago. In 2015, Tempranillo was the fourth most widely planted wine grape variety worldwide with 232,561 hectares (574,670 acres), of which 87% was in Spain where it is the most planted red grape variety.
Tempranillo can be light and fresh, luxuriant and profound, or sophisticated and worthy of aging. Tempranillo grapes have moderately thin skins, creating a ruby-colored red wine. On its own, tempranillo is typically medium-bodied but it is often blended with other grapes to make a more full-bodied wine. It is found primarily in Northern and Central Spain and Portugal. Tempranillo is more neutral than it’s bigger bodied red counterparts so it is known for acting as a blending grape with Grenache and Syrah.
We’ve tackled Tempranillo quite a few times. From our vault, our very first wine ever released in 2014 was called Never Dream Alone, a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Zinfandel. The Tempranillo was grown on “extreme terroir” 1,600 feet up on Atlas Peak in Napa Valley. The Zin is old vine goodness from Chiles Valley. This combination produces inspiring notes of wildflowers, black cherry, butter, cinnamon, plum, peach and dried cloves.
In 2015, we created Las Californias, a blend of 67% Tempranillo and 33% Graciano. Lets face it, California doesn’t really need another Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend, so we decided to let Tempranillo play the part of Cabernet Sauvignon and provide the framework, backbone, structure and ageing ability, while the Graciano (loosely playing the part of Merlot) brings deep color and strong aromatics.
Fast forward to 2016 with the release of Jonny Oro. Tempranillo, Syrah, and Mourvedre prove to be a match made in heaven, which sometimes looks a lot like Calistoga, CA. Sweet red raspberry on the nose, with hints of tobacco and rich leather, bravely followed by a juicy palate full of red fruits, white pepper, and a little bit of brown sugar.
Lick is next on our Vault journey, released in 2017. Big, expressive Syrah from Calistoga comes together with Tempranillo and a touch of Carignane to make a wine so good you'll want to lick the glass clean. There's no doubt that Lick is one of our richest and most seductive blends to date. The notes of freshly cracked pepper combined with flavors of dark berries and silky tannins are what make this wine completely irresistible.
Last but certainly not least is The Art of Surfing, recently released in 2019. For this blend, Bertus starts with Tempranillo from Shake Ridge Ranch, a vineyard in the Sierra Foothills that straddles the ridgeline at 1,700 feet above sea level. Tempranillo is a Spanish varietal and Bertus loves its tannins and cherry flavors. To complement tempranillo’s lush tannins and cherry flavors, Bertus added a small lot of Sangiovese and Barbera, two lighter Italian varieties he feels will add additional brightness to our sun-kissed blend. One thing is for sure, Bertus got something very right with this one. Juicy aromas of cherries and cocoa make way for a smoother ride across the palate and mouth watering finish.
The moment you’ve been waiting for. Enjoy your dose of Dopamine, a ferocious 2019 Sierra Foothills red that packs a punch with 61% Tempranillo, 26% Graciano and 13% Syrah. We asked our winemaking team to go for bold and bold they went. The Tempranillo and Graciano clusters were de-stemmed and spent about 20 days on the skins prior to finding their homes in neutral oak for 15 months. We employed extended maceration during fermentation And, because we’re cool like that, we blended in a small percentage of foot-stomped and whole-cluster fermented Syrah that adds a faint whisper of smoke and bold bramble-berry characteristics. The Tempranillo in Dopamine went through two delestages during early peak active fermentation. So how does it work? First, separate the juice from the solids by racking, where the wine is drained off the fermentation bin into a clean tank. Then take some of the seeds/stems out and gently pump the juice back onto the solids. Warmer temperatures are better for extracting tannin so this process softens the tannins and helps to create a juicier wine.
Welcome to Tank. A home away from home where you never dream alone. At Tank, we’ve set out to do something different. We specialize in the art of the blend and we only release limited one-offs so we never put out the same thing twice. Our winery is set in a 1930s gas station turned tasting room aka your next favorite place to hang. Tank started out as a dream to make wines with soul and purpose. No business plan, no exit strategy, just a mission to do cool shit. We source fruit from California’s most sought after vineyards (and some obscure ones, too) to make the most unique wines you’ve ever experienced. Come on by and hang with the Tank crew while we pour you through limited release wines! If you’re reading this, thank you for being a part of this crazy ride.