Tempranillo is our flagship variety, and arguably the most exciting variety in the world today. It is of course the great red variety of Spain, but it is also the variety being most rapidly planted in the world.
We planted tempranillo for the first time in 2000, in a patch of the vineyard we call Rock Block. Not only did tempranillo have a track record in Spain for being able to make outstanding, structured wines, but our Canberra District climate was a good match for the regions in Spain where it does best. It is a variety that responds to continentality, that is, large differences between day and night temperatures, and between summer and winter temperatures.
Our first Tempranillo vintage in 2003 was a revelation, unlike any other variety we were making. It had tremendous perfume, as well as intensity and structure. That wine still drinks well today, and we deliberately make our Tempranillo in a style suited to ageing.
Our small initial planting of tempranillo was quickly expanded. In 2004 we grafted a nearby patch of pinot noir to create what we now call the ‘Little Dam’ block, and in 2009 we commenced grafting and replanting merlot, in a patch we now call ‘Dry Spur’. Tempranillo has become the most important variety at Mount Majura Vineyard, covering 20% of our 9.3 hectares.