Tempranillo Advocates, Producers, and Amigos Society notes

My report with tasting notes is now online at Grape-Nutz.com from the TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates, Producers, and Amigos Society) Grand Tasting on Saturday 6/5/10 at Fort Mason in San Francisco:
TAPAS – 2010, 3rd Annual Grand Tasting – June 5, 2010

As with domestic Italian varieties, I wonder why [domestic] consumers seem to have little love for Iberian varieties grown here.

Oh, I get the “if I want Nebbiolo I’ll buy something from Piedmonte.” Or, “if I want Tempranillo I’ll buy something from Rioja.” But doesn’t that just make us cultural snobs?

Ironically, we seem to have been much more accepting of French varieties - who in turn were much more accepting of Italian and Iberian varieties themselves.

I don’t know for sure, but I get the feeling there’s not as much resistance to Iberian varieties made in the US as with Italian varieties. There was a great turnout at the TAPAS event this year in any case - I’d guess double the number from last year, maybe more. That’s remarkable given that the economy is still slow.

And up until recently, there has been so little wine made in the US from Spanish and Portuguese varieties, even compared with Italian varieties (not counting grapes like Grenache, Mourvedre, and Carignane, which most people here think of as French although they can just as easily be considered Iberian). Sangiovese in California has seen its ups and downs, but Barbera’s been around here for years, and actually seems to do quite well, particularly in the Sierra Foothills. I’ll admit that up until a couple of years ago, I didn’t have much hope for California Nebbiolo based on ones I’d tasted, but I get the sense that several newer ones are showing signs that things may be turning around here even for that difficult variety. California Nebbiolo will never be Barolo or Barbaresco but I think grown in the right places and made the right way it can make some very good, and potentially excellent wines here. I’d guess that the same is true for at least some Iberian varieties too.

Based on the TAPAS tastings the past three years, Iberian varieties made in the US still have a ways to go in terms of consistent quality, but I’ve found more good ones there every year, and I expect we’ll see more as time goes on. But consumers can’t expect a US Tempranillo to be like a Rioja any more than they can expect a US Nebbiolo to be like a Barolo (or a US Pinot to be like a Burgundy for that matter).

According to winebid’s recent report, Tempranillo sales are way up from a year ago!

Nice to see a fairly strong showing from the guys up in Southern Oregon. Beautiful country- the Rogue and Applegate valleys.


Thanks for the write ups - and for the insights into the event and its wines over the past few years. This is an event I hope to make it up to next year as pouring winery - I’ve heard from numerous folks that it’s a really well done event, and I’d like to support this emerging organization if at all possible . . .