This past week, we welcomed the winter solstice, which is the official start of winter and the shortest day, with the least number of sunlight hours, of the year. In the words of Edith Sitwell, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home.” The only thing missing from Miss Sitwell’s wintery quote is the wine to pair with said good food.
1. Tempranillo is a very old variety with historical references to the grape dating back to 1807; however, it is believed that the variety was brought to the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and Portugal by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago.
Originally, there were six noble grapes identified: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Merlot for the reds; and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling for the whites. “Noble grapes” is a term that was coined to describe international grape varieties that were the most recognized for the top-quality wine they produce.
We start our quick tour of Spain with a stop in Ribera del Duero, which is in the country’s northern plateau. Red wines from this region are made from the grape Tempranillo.
While Virginians are enjoying sights of spring flowers beginning to bloom and the gradual greening of the local landscape, the iconic words “Winter is Coming” are being echoed aloud as the eighth and final season of HBO’s highly successful cult series “Game of Thrones” begins Sunday, April 14th, 2019.