Tempranillo is the King of Spanish wines; a versatile and delicious wine that pairs just as well with comforting stews as it does with barbequed meats. Here are my suggestions for which Tempranillo to drink with what’s on your plate.

Mixing spices

Rioja wines are best with comforting dishes that have been stewed and cooked over time. Go bold with spices when stewing, because spices can fade in intensity when cooked over long periods of time. What spices work best? Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, star anise, liquorice, and pepper.

Why not try a star-anise braised veal cheek with a vanilla-infused parsnip purée—this combination will highlight the classic Rioja region Tempranillo taste, which has more restraint and elegance than Tempranillos from the neighbouring Ribera­-del­-duero region.

By the grill-side

hen drastic temperature mixes meet, Tempranillo becomes thicker on the palate, and is often called Tinto Fino. Darker in colour, deep, and highly structured, Tempranillos from Ribera­del­duero have a dense and muscular character! Barbecue flames and charring will pair well with this variety of the grape, that’s generous and tastes as though it’s been drenched in warm sun. Empyreumatic or roasted notes provided by the grill go well with charred tannins that are supported by roasted aromas that are the result of barrel aging. Coffee and cocoa are two ingredients to highlight, either in a marinade or in an accompanying sauce.

100% or mainly tempranillo vintages to try