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Australian Tempranillo: Beyond the Bottle

TempraNeo is a collective of Tempranillo makers inspired by the variety and the potential it holds for making wines of character and interest.

In our inaugural TempraNeo workshops in 2010, we offered up the first comprehensive snapshot of Tempranillo's evolution in Australia. We brought together a group of winemakers from six contrasting regions all of whom had documented success with this exciting "alternative" variety. Together with the inputs from guests and participants we collated a body of historical and technical information relating to Tempranillo and greatly enriched our collective understanding of its performance under Australian conditions.

In our second workshop series in 2011 we widened the lens to take in examples of Tempranillo from a diverse range of regions, climates and soils within Australia. We showcased excellent examples of the variety from eighteen different producers across the country to generate a vivid panorama of regional expression.

In the 2013 workshop series "Beyond the Bottle" we bring the winemaking and viticulture of Tempranillo in Australia more sharply into focus. In this session we will zoom in on the details of terroir and our various techniques in the cellar to illustrate how these bring complexity and character to the finished wines.

Attendees will taste the group's current release 2012 wines, as well as selected samples of our 2013 wines, taken as 'work in progress' samples from barrel and tank. Join us as we take you into our confidence and reveal, through these samples, what happens 'Beyond the bottle'.


Philip Smith admitted in The Wine Depository that he hadn't been excited about Australian Tempranillo in the past, but now "I am a convert" (26 August 2013).

Tony Love's column in the Daily Telegraph and other News Ltd papers explains the charms of the variety and reviews six wines (3 September 2013).

Ralph Henderson has a review of the Brisbane event on Wine Pourings. Ralph writes "The wines were all very good and would be even better with food over dinner. They are a welcome change from the standard Australian varieties." (10 September 2013).

Jeni Port's article in The Age mentioned that "Aussie wine drinkers latched onto tempranillo early." and ended "If the work of hte TempraNeo wine group is anything to judge the progress of Aussie tempranillo by, I suspect drinkers are in good hands in the coming vintages." (1 October 2013).

Chris Shanahan reviewed several Tempranillo wines, including two from the group: Running with Bulls and Mount Majura Vineyard (2 October 2013).

Lisa Johnston's article in Palate Press is provocatively entitled 'Tempranillo: Australia’s Next Shiraz, only better?'! (9 October 2013).

Chris Shanahan's article in The Canberra Times is titled "Tempranillo the one to watch" and says "The potential for this Spanish grape in Australia is huge". (16 October 2013).

with any questions.

updated 16/10/13
© 2010-2013 TempraNeo

A lovely variety to work with, lending itself to our naturalistic approach...

Of the three wines made at Mayford, Tempranillo is distinguished by its earthy fragrance, depth and rich spice. It is a lovely variety to work with, lending itself to our naturalistic approach to winemaking, and sitting comfortably with Porepunkah's continental climate, where a bony ridge-planting at the top of our dryland vineyard keeps its inherent vigour in check.

The product of a tiny family enterprise where handcrafted means exactly that, Mayford Tempranillo reflects a unique site in the foothills of the Victorian Alps and offers an interesting counterpoint to some of the warmer-grown examples in Australia.

Eleana Anderson • Winemaker • Mayford
We need varieties that 'belong' here...

While it has been suggested that Tempranillo in Canberra could make the 'next Vega Sicilia' our reason for growing it at Mount Majura Vineyard is to make the best 'Mount Majura'. That means a variety adapted to our continental climate and able to give voice to the character of our soil.

We need varieties that 'belong' here. For us, Tempranillo has been exciting from the very first harvest in 2003, making wine that has revealed new dimensions in flavour and structure from our vineyard. We feel that the depth and personality in the wine is revealing the character of our place.

Frank van de Loo • Winemaker • Mount Majura Vineyard
Based in Central Victoria our aim is to create distinctly varietal wines expressing the terroir of each vineyard...

Based in Central Victoria our aim is to create distinctly varietal wines expressing the terroir of each vineyard. Our range comprises Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Pinot Grigio and Shiraz plus our Miro blend, made in Spain for the Australian market. 2006 was our first vintage and since then we have continued to grow and make the best quality wines possible.

Since participating as a member of the TempraNeo group we have been exposed to a variety of alternative methodologies for Tempranillo production. Although we haven't been swayed to alter our own style we have this year experimented with a small batch of wine upon which we used a non-interventionist approach. This wine will be shown alongside our 2012 bottled wine.

Narelle King & Don Lewis • Winemakers • Tar & Roses
We now feel like we are almost 'Old hands' with the variety!

La Linea was born in 2007, but the two partners have a Tempranillo history that goes back much longer. Peter Leske made his first in 2001 and has since made an obsession of a passion; and David LeMire has lost count of the good bottles he's tasted at other peoples' expense. Who has had more fun? From initially working with two very different vineyards, we now make wine from six, spread the length and breadth of the region. From the relatively warm and dry (this is the Hills, folks!) Amadio block near Kersbrook to Hoey's cool Range Rd Estate near Kuitpo, we are fascinated by the way in which Temp, like Pinot noir, reflects each vineyard's unique soil and site climate. Some sites offer fragrance, others tannin... all offer interest and intrigue.

Peter Leske • Winemaker • La Linea
Biodynamic viticulture and a hands-off winemaking approach....

After working vintages in Spain in the late 90's and observing the versatility of Tempranillo, we decided to plant the variety at Gemtree. Located in the foothills of McLaren Vale, the site and the soil are perfectly suited to growing Tempranillo.

Eleven years on, we are delighted with the consistency of results we have achieved. We continue to push the boundaries, with the commencement in 2007 of biodynamic viticulture and a hands-off winemaking approach.

Mike Brown • Winemaker • Gemtree Vineyards
We've given Tempranillo a home in the Barossa and Wrattonbully showcasing the versatility of this exciting variety...

Traditionally a Spanish variety, we have focussed on the Barossa and Wrattonbully regions for these exciting wines; bright in colour and rich in fruit flavour. Tempranillo from the Barossa shows its rustic side; Aromas of black cherry, liquorice, all spice and Satsuma plum with a juicy yet savoury palate that finishes with cocoa powder tannins. The Barossa shows a strong likeness to the wines that emerge from Ribera del Duero, whereas the Wrattonbully region resemblance lies with the Riojan wines. The Wrattonbully wine is sitting more in the floral and red cherry spectrum with notes of dried Mediterranean herbs and long grainy tannins.

The Running with Bulls wines are tailor made for the Australian way of life and should be enjoyed in good company and with some tasty food.

Sam Wigan • Winemaker • Running with Bulls