Aragonez, also known as Tinta Roriz in some regions of Portugal, is one of the most prominent and valued red varieties in the country. The first records indicate that this variety was planted by the Phoenicians in the region of Cádiz, Spain, in 1000 BC, and has always been considered a true Iberian variety. In Spain, Aragonez has another name, being called Tempranillo, in the same way that in Portugal it is only considered Tinta Roriz when cultivated in the Douro and Dão regions. The origin of the name Tempranillo arose, as mentioned, in Spain, originating from the word "temprano", which in Portuguese means "early".
Quite productive and vigorous, this early maturing variety adapts very well to different terroirs, with special attention to those that are hot, dry and clay-limestone. Aragonez is generally medium in size, with oval or spherical shaped berries, thick skin and dark blue color, and is known for producing intensely aromatic wines. The wines made with this grape variety are true expressions of quality and complexity. These display an impressive range of aromas, including ripe red fruits such as cherries and blackberries, subtle floral notes, spices and nuances of fresh herbs. In the mouth, these wines are full-bodied, with firm tannins that provide structure and longevity. As wines made with Aragonez age, they develop additional layers of smoother, more complex flavors.
This variety flourishes in its splendor in hot and dry climates, where it can reach its full aromatic and flavor potential. Its grapes benefit from high daytime temperatures and cooler nights, which contribute to the preservation of acidity and vibrant aromas. Regarding the soil, Aragonez has a preference for schist soils, where its roots can go deeper in search of water and nutrients, resulting in more complex and concentrated wines.
In addition to Alentejo, where it plays a crucial role in the production of this region's wines, Aragonez is also cultivated in the Douro, where it contributes to the production of high quality Port Wines with a striking personality. Its presence in Portuguese lands can also be found in the Dão wine region, where it adds complexity and character to local wines.
In addition to being vinified alone, in Portugal, this variety is widely used for blends, that is, it is combined with one or more grape varieties to create wines full of flavor and personality. To this end, Aragonez is found in blends with Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, just as in Alentejo it is often vinified with grape varieties such as Alfrocheiro and Alicante Bouchet, as well as being found, in some cases, in rosé wines.
Our suggestions for this end of year season is Ribafreixo Seleção Red, a wine produced from 60% Aragonez, 20% Alfrocheiro and 20% Alicante Bouchet. A wine that conveys the true terroir of Vidigueira, displaying aromas of ripe plum, forest fruits, notes of spices and dark chocolate. At the table, it is very versatile and goes well with traditional Portuguese food, red meat, chicken and pork in the oven.
Among the grape varieties cultivated in Portugal, Aragonez or Tinta Roriz reveals the richness of years of history and mastery in Portuguese terroirs. Its presence in wines and versatility express the essence of each terroir in which it is grown, as well as being great for blends full of personality and aromas that delight any wine lover!