Appellation: Umpqua Valley
A recent study by Wine Business Monthly magazine pointed out that while the Spanish red variety Tempranillo — pronounced temp-rah-KNEE-oh — is the world’s fourth-most planted grape, only 5 percent of the 9,091 wineries in the U.S. produce a Tempranillo. That includes 76 in Oregon, 54 in Washington and six in Idaho. Back in 1997, Southern Oregon's Earl Jones of Abacela became the first in the U.S. to grow, produce and bottle Tempranillo. That wine was a product of vines he planted on Memorial Day 1995. Along the way, his viticulture research and work in the cellar with clone 2 has been critical to the success of Abacela’s largest production Tempranillo — the approachable and ready-to-enjoy Fiesta. This latest release by head winemaker Andrew Wenzl shows great balance to the ripe plums and blackberry notes. A hint of mocha lingers in the background of tannins akin to plum skins. Judges from across the U.S. and Canada awarded this screw-capped red a gold medal at the 2018 Cascadia International Wine Competition in Richland, Wash.
Rating: Outstanding! by Great Northwest Wine (14.2% alc.)
Production: 2,363 cases
Food pairings: Earl Jones and his wife, Hilda, serve food-friendly Tempranillo with Spanish-inspired fare, braised pork ribs, tomato-based dishes and anything off the grill.
Abacela, 12500 Lookingglass Road, Roseburg, Ore. 541-679-6642, www.abacela.com.