The integration of an intense nose with an explosive palate captures the tranquil period of a warm summer evening when the glaring sunlight fades behind dark purple shadows and the ambient sounds of wildlife diminish to near silence. Fragrances of black cherry, leather, earth, sage and cedar are followed by vivid flavors of fresh blackberry pie, vanilla-cream, smokehouse meats and toasted oak in conjunction with a creamy mouthfeel, dusty tannins and fresh acidity.
Tempranillo has been the principle grape of the Rioja province in north-central Spain for centuries, but today it is found in parts of Australia, North and South America, and South Africa.
Tempranillo is successful grown in hot climates, but it excels when cool nights offset daytime heat. At 1,500 feet of elevation, Rioja’s high plateau provides the cold nights that work in concert with lean rocky soils to produce full-bodied wines with dark fruit, earth, leather and herbs. Typically harsh in their youth, the wines are aged for three to five years in neutral barrels until their tannins soften. In contrast to Rioja, the less extreme conditions of many New World regions produce approachable wines in their youth.
Such is the case on the high plateau in Paso’s El Pomar district where Burbank Vineyard benefits from a thin veneer of sandy-clay alluvium, warm-to-hot days and cool nights. Developed in 2008, the ranch is planted with 16 grape varieties including 4.5 acres of tempranillo (half with Douro clone and 1103P rootstock, half with clone 770 and 420A rootstock). The combination of soil, vines, climate and sustainable farming practices culminates in a grand finale each fall with the harvest of full-flavored grapes.