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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
30 Aug 2011

Looks as though there is now a need for a global diary for Grape Varietal Days.

This Thursday (not tomorrow as I originally wrote) is the first ever International Tempranillo Day, dreamt up by the excellent Earl Jones at Abacela winery in southern Oregon, who has done so much to demonstrate that Oregon is not a one-grape state.

In fact, if you scan the events listed for tomorrow, it's difficult to find any outside the US so I urge you to give Spain's most famous grape a thought tomorrow - and possibly even organise something at short notice.

It's quite extraordinary how widely planted around the world the variety is now (even if I have a very soft spot for the Garnacha that Tempranillo rather edged aside in late 20th century Spain and am delighted to see that Garnacha is now being re-evaluated). There are at least 14 countries where Tempranillo produces wine commercially, including Italy, where DNA profiling has shown it is surprisingly widely planted as Malvasia Nera.

Earl and Hilda Jones, by the way, are the parents of Greg Jones, who has done so much first-class academic work on climate and wine.

But Thursday is also the second annual Cabernet Day, dreamt up a few hundred miles south of the Joneses by wine marketeer Rick Bakas of California. This is largely a Twitterfest from what I can gather. You can find out more about how to participate in the Cabernet Day here.

And if you want to participate in both simultaneously, then perhaps you should seek out the sort of Tempranillo/Cabernet blend that is such a speciality of Navarra. Probably the best I have ever tasted is Arínzano 2001 from Chivite's luxurious relatively new estate in the north of the region. Purple pagers can read Julia's 2008 tasting note on it here, but I retasted it at the end of last year and was possibly even more impressed. It's not cheap (over £40 a bottle) but is at least released only when adjudged ready to drink. Apologies for not having added a tasting note to our database of wine reviews (now nearly 60,000 strong, I see).