Georg Riedel has presented the first wine glass ever designed for one of the Iberian Peninsula's great, highly idiosyncratic grape varieties: the red Tempranillo, which dominates the fine Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines, in addition to being a major cultivar in many of Spain's other Denominaciones de Origen (DO). Referred to by its synonym Aragonez, Tempranillo is also a major grape variety in Portugal. Riedel has actually marked this inaugural effort in Iberia by devoting not just one, but two different glasses to Tempranillo.
After a protracted, highly meticulous testing process which involved three major tastings between late 1997 and late 1998, it became apparent that Tempranillo presented some of the same challenges as another 'chameleon' grape variety, Syrah. Younger, less extracted, less tannic, more floral types of wine made with Tempranillo behave in a markedly different way from more tannic, oak-aged wines such as the top Gran Reservas from Ribera del Duero or Rioja. The three successive panels of Spanish tasters, appreciated the general shape - wider bottom, narrower mouth - that has been so successful in Riedel's Hermitage glass. But they came to the conclusion that a smaller size accommodates young Tempranillo's voluptuous aromatic qualities perfectly, while a larger liquid volume is preferable in order to equally highlight the flavours and finish of the top oak-aged Tempranillo wines, whose tannic structure makes them eminently ageable.
Therefore, the final panel, including the top Bordeaux winemaker Michel Rolland, who actively works with Tempranillo in Spain, unanimously recommends a twin solution to perfectly suit both styles of wine, after testing the top glasses developed from prior panel sessions. There will be a smaller Tempranillo glass that will be produced in the Vinum range, and a markedly larger (but identically shaped) Tempranillo Reserva glass in the Sommeliers range.
SOMMELIERS is executed in lead crystal, mouth blown in Austria.