Tempranillo vs Shiraz


If you’re thinking about the differences between Tempranillo vs Shiraz, you’re probably into savory wines.

Shiraz has high tannins, with dark fruit, olive, and pepper. Tempranillo has red fruit and savory notes, like leather and tomato. Both wines are widely available.

Comparing Tempranillo vs Shiraz is a must-try side-by-side tasting for newer red wine enthusiasts. These are both popular red wines you’ll come across regularly.

Tempranillo Basics: Spain’s Red Wine

tempranillo vs shiraz- tempranillo wine profile infographic

Tempranillo, a well-regarded grape originating from Spain, has gained worldwide recognition for its robust character. Now a global favorite, Tempranillo thrives in vineyards worldwide, from Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero to New World regions.

With its deep crimson color, Tempranillo offers a palate of red berries complemented by subtle hints of vanilla and leather. This flavorful profile has made it popular among wine enthusiasts globally, securing its place in cellars.

Spain, the birthplace of Tempranillo, showcases its versatility from everyday wines to prestigious reserva and gran reserva selections.

Fun Wine Fact: Tempranillo gets its name from the Spanish word “temprano,” meaning early, as it usually ripens before many other grape varieties.

Helpful Tip: Here’s a complete guide to Tempranillo.

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Shiraz Basics: Bold and Spicy

Fun Wine Fact: Shiraz is what they call Syrah in Australia, but they’re the same wine grape.

tempranillo vs shiraz - wine profile infographic

Shiraz, or Syrah, is originally from France and today you’ll find wines made from Shiraz made around the world, to include Australia, France, Chile, Argentina, Italy, and California. Known for its spiciness, Shiraz is a full-bodied red wine. (Check out this comprehensive guide to Shiraz wine.)

Fun Wine Fact: Shiraz is often blended with other grape varieties, such as Grenache and Mourvedre. Shiraz brings color, body, tannin, and alcohol to the mix. You’ll see these wines labeled with the letters: GSM.

Wine Comparison: Shiraz vs Tempranillo

Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison that covers the most common styles of Tempranillo and Shiraz:

Characteristics Tempranillo Shiraz
Hue Deep ruby to garnet Deep purple to black
Color Red Red to black
Aromas Red berries, plum, tomato, coconut Blackberry, plum, pepper, spice, olive
Tannins Moderate to high Moderate to high
Acid Moderate Moderate to high
Alcohol (%) 13-15% 14-16%
Body Medium to full Full
Intensity Moderate to pronounced Pronounced
Key Growing Regions Spain (Rioja), Argentina, Portugal Australia, France (Rhône), South Africa
Classic Pairings Grilled meats, chorizo, tapas Barbecue, lamb, game meats
Price Range $10-$50 $10-$40

Tempranillo Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Tempranillo is typically produced in a dry style, offering minimal residual sugar.
  • Alcohol: Tempranillo wines generally have a low to moderate alcohol content, ranging from around 12% to 14% ABV.
  • Body: Known for its medium to full body, the style of Tempranillo will depend on the growing region and winemaker.
  • Tannins: Tempranillo has similar tannins to Shiraz, in the medium to high range.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Tempranillo has juicy red fruit, including cherry, plum, and tomato (tomato leaf); aged Tempranillo can get savory leather notes
  • Flavors: The flavor profile often includes red cherry, strawberry, and raspberry, with a touch of coconut and spices.

Shiraz Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Shiraz is almost always made in a dry style unless it is an inexpensive bulk wine
  • Alcohol: Shiraz wines typically feature a moderate to high alcohol content, sometimes a little higher than Tempranillo, ranging from around 13% to 15.5% ABV.
  • Acid: Shiraz tends to have medium to medium (+) acid, maybe a little less than Shiraz
  • Body: Shiraz boasts a bold and full-bodied profile, accompanied by firm tannins.
  • Tannins: Shiraz tends to have pronounced tannins, contributing to its structure and aging potential.
  • Flavor: Rich flavors of blackberry, black plum, pepper, and olive

Helpful Tip: Black pepper is the signature marker when tasting Shiraz wines blind.

Are Tempranillo and Shiraz Similar?

Both Tempranillo and Shiraz have noticeable tannins and do well with oak, giving them baking spice notes.

What Is the Difference Between Tempranillo and Shiraz?

Tempranillo has red fruit; Shiraz has black fruit. Shiraz will have slightly higher alcohol than Tempranillo

Tempranillo vs. Shiraz: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

steak - tempranillo vs shiraz

Tempranillo: Tempranillo’s bright red fruit profile makes it an excellent pairing partner for earthy dishes, like lentil soup and paella. Check out: Tempranillo Food Pairing Guide

Shiraz has that bold and robust character, making it an excellent companion for hearty dishes, grilled meats, and flavorful cheeses.

Discover More:
Shiraz Cheese Pairing Guide
Cabernet Pairing Guide

Both Tempranillo and Shiraz are best enjoyed at slightly below room temperature. Place them in a cool, dark place for 1 hour to 30 minutes before serving.

Which Is More Expensive, Shiraz vs Tempranillo?

tempranillo vs shiraz - wine shelf

When comparing the prices of Tempranillo and Shiraz, it’s natural to wonder about their relative costs. Both wines are available at different price points, making them deliscious choices regardless of your wine budget.

Tempranillo Cost

Entry-level Tempranillo wines are typically affordable, ranging from $8 to $10 per bottle. If wine affordability is something you’re thinking about, you’ll find drinkable Tempranillo wines in most wine markets wherever you shop.

If you are looking for premium Tempranillo wines, there are higher-priced bottles available. These bottles, priced around $30 to $50 or higher, offer a more complex and nuanced drinking experience.

Helpful Tip: Look for Rioja DOCG and Ribera del Duero DO quality wines made from Tempranillo. Look for affordable Tempranillo from La Mancha DO.

Shiraz Cost

Shiraz wines are widely available at various price points. You’ll find budget-friendly Shiraz starting under $5 USD. These wines, while more affordable, are typically made in an off-dry (slightly sweet) style.

  • Shiraz starts to get interesting around $18-$20 USD.
  • Premium Shiraz wines, sourced from renowned regions, can easily cost you $80+ USD, but usually below Cabernet Sauvignon.

Which Is Better, Tempranillo or Shiraz?

tempranillo vs shiraz- wine glasses

If you enjoy red wines with bright red fruit and a savory quality, then Tempranillo is the better wine for you. If you like full-bodied red wines with spice, then Shiraz is the better choice. If you’re concerned about alcohol, then Tempranillo wines are usually lower alcohol than Shiraz.

Final Thoughts – Shiraz or Tempranillo?

Both Tempranillo and Shiraz present delightful red wine options with their own unique characteristics.

I’m a big fan of side-by-side tastings to tease out the different wine characteristics. A great way to get started with these two wines is to do a side-by-side comparison.

Grab 2 bottles of similarly priced Tempranillo and Shiraz. Invite over a few friends and enjoy an evening of swirling and sipping.

Discover: Spanish red wines you need to be drinking.

Thirsty for More?

I’m a big believer in doing side-by-side tastings to boost your wine knowledge. Here’s how to host your own wine tasting for beginners.

Check out this post on Merlot vs. Pinot Noir, another popular red wine comparison, along with Shiraz vs. Malbec.

You should be able to find delicious wines at every price point. Check out this post on how to find great wines under $50.

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