This medium-bodied wine has Old World style that conjures fond memories like the spice tin in grandma’s pantry. Powerful aromas of cherry cough drop, cranberry, tobacco leaf, and fresh moist earth are followed by generous tastes of black cherry, cranberry, mocha, licorice and toasted oak that simultaneously satisfy and arouse curiosity. A backbone of firm tannins and spirited acidity works in concert with a smooth texture to provide repeated enjoyment over the next three to five years.
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 can be successfully 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, many New World regions have less extreme conditions. Such is the case in the Clements Hills AVA, a renowned wine region above Lodi on the banks of the Mokelumne River.
Lewis Vineyard was planted in 1980 at 600 feet of elevation in well-drained rocky red soils. The area is mostly dry during the summer with warm-to-hot days and cool evenings produced by regular breezes from the Sacramento River delta. These conditions create fruit-forward wines with approachable tannins that require less barrel aging than their Rioja counterparts.