Tempranillo | AspenTimes.com


story by Jeanne McGovern photos by Anna Stonehouse
Details: 165 Midland Ave. • 970-927-3342 • tempranillorestaurant.com Prices: Tapas, $7 to $16; cheese and charcuterie, $12 to $35; salads $8 to $15; entrées, $17 to $38 Ambience: In summer, one of the best outdoor spaces in Basalt where Old World Spanish grandeur meets modern community coolness Signature Dishes: Piquillos con Tetliia, a delightful mix of grilled piquillo peppers stuffed with tetilla cheese; the popular “Summer Salad” and the newly introduced faro salad with grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms and eggplant on a base of arugula with grilled ahi tuna garnished with pickled vegetables; paellas — Valencia with chorizo, chicken, and seafood; seafood centric; jet-black arroz negro (squid ink); handmade pastas, including daily specials Not to Miss: If you can, a chat with chef-owner Javier Gonzalez-Bringas … his passion for his native Spain, the midvalley community and the importance of authentic, yet locally sourced, cuisine is contagious. An amazingly wide selection of more than two dozen tapas plates, about half of them vegetarian. In addition to the 300-plus bottle wine list, an impressive menu of spirits, including cocktails named for Javier and his wife, Laura.

There is passion, and then there is passion. Tempranillo’s Madrid-born chef-owner Javier Gonzalez-Bringas and wife embody the latter.

“We just really want people  to come here and feel like they’re in a different place — to be transported a bit,” says Laura
Maine Gonzalez-Bringas.

Tempranillo’s location in the heart of downtown Basalt — with one of the most spacious and inviting outdoor spaces in the Roaring Fork Valley — makes this even easier to experience.

The sprawling, 1892 building that Tempranillo inhabits has long been a town hub: first as a train station and later as a grand hotel. For more than a decade now, however, it has been Gonzalez-Bringas’ home away from home — and where he shares souvenirs of Spain through simple cooking that showcases complex flavors.

“I want people to have the experience of traveling to Spain,” Gonzalez-Bringas says.

First, tapas: imported Spanish seafood (try the Gambas Barcelona, shrimp sautéed with garlic, ginger and tomato), heritage meat, and a wide selection of vegetarian plates, along with bruschetta and tostadas; fresh Mediterranean salads; and cheese and charcuterie boards overflowing with imported treasures. In fact, the heritage pigs, plus chickens, hail from the Gonzalez-Bringas’ family’s 13-acre ranch in Missouri Heights; and other offerings come from local farms and ranchers.

True to name, Tempranillo pays homage to Spanish wine — all 300-plus bottles on the list come from the country. Meanwhile, find sublime refreshers including housemade sangrias, negronis, Pisco sours, and more. Take these cocktails outside — the covered patio offers seating for 80 beside a shady courtyard with lounges for another 30 guests (and a children’s playground); lanterns and a vintage chandelier set a perfect summer evening mood.

And still, Gonzalez-Bringas crafts more than a dozen paella, rice, and pasta creations, including nightly specials. But the food and drink is only part of the Tempranillo experience.

“It’s a great excursion; a very different experience than Aspen in summer,” says Laura. “We think this is kind of an escape, a kind of retreat.”