Although many see this varietal as indigenous to Rioja, it has recently been found that it actually originates from the Valdepeñas region.
It is internationally recognized as being of Spanish origin. Its characteristics are similar to those of Burgundy Pinot Noir and it could have been introduced by the monks of Cluny abbey. Generally considered to be the most prestigious and characteristic of the Iberian grape varieties. Each region using it chooses to call it either by its original name or by a more indigenous name such as Tinto fino, Tinto del Païs or Cencibel de la Mancha (see synonyms). Note that a white variety was recognized in 1988.