This a grape whose natural home is in northern Spain and is the dominant grape in the wines of Rioja. It is now found throughout Spain and Portugal, often known by different names (e.g. Tinto del Pais, Tinto del Toro, Cencibel, Tinto Roriz) and in a number of new world locations. It has been grown for many years in Argentina and its great potential is now being recognised there. In Argentina it is untroubled by the Autumn rains that can plague it in Rioja and it can produce much riper wines.


The wine is a medium ruby red in colour with aromas of tobacco leaf, berries, plum and leather, mixed with some earthy minerality. Oak ageing often adds vanilla notes. The typical flavour is essentially savoury rather than sweet, although with the riper fruit found in Argentina the fruity characteristics may emerge more strongly than in Spain. If the grape is grown in the right spot without excessive yield it has the potential to produce some long-lived wines. Good food matches are barbequed meat, pork, poultry and cheddar cheese.