Game Wine: Tempranillo

Tempranillo is a Spanish wine grape varietal that heartily endures the sweltering heat of Texas. Like any varietal, the taste of the finished wine is considerably altered by the terroir of the vineyard and the methods of the winemaker. Despite this, there is a particular taste that I associate strongest with tempranillo, and that taste could best be described as "Spaghetti Western."

Despite being filmed by Italian crews, the great spaghetti westerns were actually shot in Spain. The bleak, sun-scorched hills and plains bear a significant (but imperfect) resemblance to Texas and so Texas tempranillos bear a significant (but inexact) resemblance to the wines of Spain. In my favorite tempranillos -- both Spanish and Texan -- I taste the leather of Charles Bronson, the fire of Clint Eastwood, the boldness of Eli Wallach, and the subtlety of Lee Van Cleef.

Alamosa Wine Cellars' pairs well with "Deadlands" and other gritty western settings. Pedernales Cellars' tempranillo could also be the homemade wine an aging don gives to a young hero he hopes will inherit his mask, while Fall Creek's could be a pirate crew's last drink before setting off to plunder the treasure fleet.


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