I have been writing about wine for nearly 10 years now. It’s been interesting to read today some of those early reviews, because my tastes have changed…a lot. Back then I was all about Yellow Tail, Rosemount, and sweeter red blends. Today, I am more discerning, while still seeking a good value. When I find a wine with character that doesn’t break the bank, you read about it here on Wine Wednesday.
This week’s feature is the 2008 Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva. It has been a while since I have had a Spanish wine this good. Rioja is red wine which originates from northern Spain, an area that has been making wine since the ancient Phoenicians. It has been written about by poets as early as 873 A.D. and has been shipped commercially all over the world since the 1300s! A bottle of Rioja is probably going to be Tempranillo or Garnacha (Grenache), but could also include Viura, Graciano or Mazuleo grapes. This Campo Viejo Rioja is 85% Tempranillo, and is called Reserva because it spent nearly 2 years in oak barrels, followed by another 18 months of bottle aging.
I was so happy to taste this wine! My wife and I have had some bad luck trying new wines lately, so when we realized how good this was, there was general rejoicing in the Demay house. Open it and you’ll notice a bouquet of cedar, clove and cherry, giving way to robust flavors of dark fruit and pepper. This wine is very well balanced with a long, spicy finish. It was rated 89 by Wine Spectator, and won bronze at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2011. It is the best Tempranillo I have had in quite some time, and for $14, you just can’t beat it.