Tempranillo vs Pinot Noir – EXPLORING Wine Types (Guide)

There are a lot of different types of wine out there, and it can be tough to know which one is the best for a particular meal or occasion.

In this article, we will compare tempranillo vs pinot noir to help you decide which one is right because they’re both very popular and similar, but there are some key differences.

Keep reading to learn more!

Tempranillo vs Pinot Noir

So, what’s the difference between tempranillo vs pinot noir?

The biggest difference is in their body: tempranillo wines are typically medium-bodied while pinot noir wines are typically light-bodied.

They also have different aromas with pinot noir being more fruity and tempranillo a little more earthy with tobacco and spice.

What is Tempranillo Wine?

tempranillo grapes
Tempranillo grapes are beautiful purple/blue grapes sometimes referred to as “black grapes.”

Tempranillo is a red grape that is grown in many different regions around the world.

The name Tempranillo comes from the Spanish word “Temprano”, which means early.

This is because Tempranillo grapes are one of the first to be harvested each year.

Tempranillo wines are typically medium-bodied with flavors of cherry, plum, and tobacco. They often have a bit of spice and can be slightly tannic.

Tempranillos can be made in a variety of styles, from light and fruity to rich and full-bodied.

The difference is in aging. Young bottles are fresh and light while aged bottles (up to 10 years) are rich and jammy.

Read More: Is Tempranillo Wine Sweet? We explore the taste of Tempranillo in greater detail in this wine guide!

What is Pinot Noir Wine?

Pinot Noir in glasses
Pinot Noir is a fruity wine that can boast many different flavors thanks to aging techniques.

Pinot noir is another red grape that is grown in many different parts of the world.

Pinot noir grapes are thin-skinned grapes, which means that it is susceptible to damage from the sun and wind.

This makes it difficult to grow, but the resulting wines are often very high quality.

Pinot noir wines are typically light bodied with flavors of cherry, strawberry, and earth.

They can also have a bit of spice and an herbal quality.

Pinot noirs can be made in a variety of styles, from fruity and approachable to complex and age-worthy.

Key Differences

So, what’s the difference between these two different red wines? Let’s take a closer look.

Different Origins

Tempranillo is a native Spanish grape that is grown in several regions throughout the country.

It is the most planted grape in Spain and is also widely cultivated in Portugal, Mexico, and South America.

Pinot noir is a French grape that is thought to have originated in Burgundy.

Today, it is grown in many regions around the world including France, Italy, Australia, and the United States.

Different Production Methods

Tempranillo wines are typically made using traditional Spanish winemaking methods.

The grapes are fermented in open-top vats and then aged in oak barrels for several months or even years.

Pinot noir wines are usually produced using a more modern approach.

The grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged in French oak barrels for a shorter period.

Different Body (Richness and Weight)

The body of a wine is determined by the amount of sugar in the grape. The more sugar, the fuller-bodied the wine.

Tempranillo has more sugar than pinot noir, so it tends to be a fuller-bodied wine.

This is one of the most noticeable differences between tempranillo and pinot noir.

Tempranillo will often have notes of ripe fruit paired with earthiness and spice, while pinot noir will have more delicate fruit flavors and a lighter finish.

Different Tastes

One of the main differences between tempranillo vs pinot noir is the taste.

Tempranillo is a Spanish red wine that is known for its fruity, robust flavor.

They are typically earthier, with flavors like leather and tobacco.

Pinot noir, on the other hand, is a French red wine that has a lighter, more delicate flavor. It is known for its fruity flavors like cherries and raspberries.

When it comes to taste, if you’re looking for a bolder-tasting wine, Tempranillo is a good option.

But if you prefer a subtler flavor, pinot noir may be better for you.

Different Prices

Price is another important consideration when choosing between tempranillo vs pinot noir.

Tempranillo wines are typically less expensive than pinot noir because there is more of it on the market.

However, there are 4 grades of tempranillo that can dramatically affect the price per bottle.

A bottle of Gran Reserva tempranillo can set you back $40 to $80 bucks for the average bottle.

However, the richness that’s been developed in the aging process makes the tag understandable and worth the money.

Pinot noir, on the other hand, can be quite expensive for quality wines.

However, you can find a really nice bottle of pinot noir for $20 or less just about anywhere.

If you’re willing to spend a little extra, though, you can find some amazing pinot noirs that stand above the flavor and texture of mass-market bottles of pinot noir.

Different Flavors

When it comes to their flavors, tempranillo wines are usually tart with notes of plum or tomato, and they are typically characterized as being earthy with strong flavors of tobacco and leather.

Pinot noir wines, on the other hand, are typically smooth with flavors of blackberry.

They are often described as being fruitier with notes of cherry and strawberry.

Both types of wine can have tannins, which give them a dry feeling in the mouth.

However, tempranillo wines tend to have more tannins than pinot noirs.

Different Aromas

Both wines have distinct aromas.

Pinot noir typically has the aromas of red fruits like cherries and strawberries.

Tempranillo, on the other hand, often has earthy aromas with hints of tobacco.

Food Pairing Differences

Tempranillo food pairings can be tricky, as the grape’s natural acidity can make it seem harsh when contrasted with rich dishes.

Richer Tempranillos are good for pairing with tapas and spicy food.

However, tempranillo is often used in Rioja blends, which are some of the most food-friendly wines around thanks to the well-balanced acidity and body.

Pinot noir, on the other hand, is an incredibly versatile grape that can be paired with a wide range of foods without overpowering the flavors in the food.

It’s a great wine for beginners.

Read More: What Wine Goes With Tacos? Both Tempranillo and Pinot Noir are good options for taco night. Here are our favorite selections!

Should I Choose Tempranillo or Pinot Noir?

dinner with tempranillo
Tempranillo vs Pinot Noir comes down to personal preference. Many begin with pinot noir and then branch into bolder wines like tempranillo.

So, which one should you choose? Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference.

If you’re looking for a bolder-tasting wine, tempranillo is a good option.

If you prefer a subtler flavor, pinot noir may be better for you.

If you want to try Tempranillo but want something more comparable to the price and flavor of pinot noir, look for a bottle of Viejo Rioja.

This fresh Tempranillo wine is more affordable and lighter than its aged cousins.

Do you have a favorite tempranillo or pinot noir? What did you think of them?

Let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear from you!

Read More: Tempranillo vs Malbec. We compare the flavor profile, pairings, origin, and more of these popular reds!

The Bottom Line

So, what’s the difference between tempranillo and pinot noir? Well, tempranillo is a bit heartier and fuller-bodied, while pinot noir is lighter and more delicate.

Both are excellent choices for a variety of foods, so it comes down to personal preference.

We hope this article has helped you better understand the differences between these two popular wines!

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