Spanish variety Tempranillo is California’s hot new grape, with winemakers trying their hands at it from Sonoma to Santa Barbara.


2005 Longoria Tempranillo ($40)
The warm Santa Ynez Valley provides a perfect home for the flavorful Iberian grape. Case in point: this elegant, medium-bodied wine.

2005 Villa Creek Mas de Maha ($30)
Winemaker-restaurateur Cris Cherry blends Tempranillo, Mourvèdre and Grenache to make a wine that’s firmly acidic, yet jammy.

2004 Clos du Bois Reserve Tempranillo ($23)
Megawinery Clos du Bois has gotten in on the Tempranillo craze with this appealing (and affordable) cherry-scented bottling.