Campo Viejo Bodega Tasting
‘No thanks!’ is something I have NEVER said when being offered a glass of wine. And at Campo Viejo, it was no different! In the first place, this is a Rioja which most people have heard of. Also, it is a lot of people’s introduction to Rioja Wines.
While most have sampled their yellow label Crianza, I found that Campo Viejo has so much more to offer and at this Bodega, it was a great place to try!
This wasn’t on our list of wineries to go to. The reason for this is an oversight on our part. We had the architectural marvels list pretty well down but I didn’t realise what a great building this is. Architecturally amazing!
But our excellent tour guide Jose took us here, yeah, there is no substitute for local knowledge, he’s a guy in the know! And I’m so glad he did take us here! Overall, our Campo Viejo Bodega Tasting was exceptional!
But it gets better!
Campo Viejo has a great reputation in the UK for consistency and quality but we hadn’t figured out just how brilliant some of the wines on offer are! Certainly, the Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva is high on my list of great Gran Reservas but my eyes were opened to some of the other offerings from this great Bodega!
Arriving, we saw the unmistakable logo of Campo Viejo.
The architect of the Campo Viejo Bodega is Ignacio Quemada. In keeping with the landscape, he designed the 45,000 sq.m. site mostly underground! This has numerous advantages, firstly, in the keeping and the storing of the wine – at a relatively constant temperature. Secondly, the Bodega has far less impact on the landscape.
Jose, our guide, introduced us to our host for the tasting, Raoul. A nicer chap you could not wish to meet. With a real passion for the wines of Campo Viejo, his enthusiasm was infectious.
I honestly felt he was a real credit to the Bodega. Talking us through the wines of the Campo Viejo Bodega, we found Raoul to be extremely knowledgeable and was even answering our questions before we asked them.
The tasting room is a light and airy place sitting on top of the building, above ground level. It has amazing views across those famous Rioja vineyards.
I knew three of the wines we tasted. And, as I mentioned before, my preference being on the Gran Reserva. Its beautiful terracotta colours matching the local tiles on the rooves of the house. These colours at the edge of the glass are a real treat for the eyes!
You might be wondering;
Where are these colours?
To see the colours, get a white handkerchief or napkin and tilt the glass slightly over the white fabric and look at the edge of the glass. You’ll notice a deeper colour in the centre of the glass but at the edges, you can start to tell what type of wine it is!
The Crianzas and younger wines will be that bright, luscious cherry red colour that makes the mouth water. However, with the Reservas, you see an orange colour start to creep in. And the Gran Reservas? Well, they have a full-on terracotta colour party happening right at the edge!
Now you can see the roof tiles, can’t you?
For me, that is the colour of warm relaxing afternoons, the smell of sun-baked terracotta tiles and the promise of that smooth, warm and complex taste yet to come…
And to taste! Its complex flavours are a balm on the palate. Hints of spice and tobacco greet you, along with vanilla and leather. Firstly, it’s fruit-forward with darker fruit notes coming from behind along with medium tannins. Secondly, that wood toastiness that you get from the oak barrels is just fantastic.
Also, it’s the oak barrels that will give you the terracotta colour too!
Then Raoul introduced us to some of the Bodega’s offerings we had not tried before.
Exciting new tastes
One that particularly caught Tam’s eye was the ‘Semidulce 2016’. A sweet white wine with a long perfumed finish and floral aromas. She declared it a winner and proceeded to buy a bottle.
I went for the ‘Dominio Campo Viejo 2011’.
It’s a blend of 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. It’s fermented at 25ºC and then undergoes a long maceration with the skins on for 28 days. Then it is aged for 11 months in French Oak and the result, in my humble opinion, is the perfect Crianza!
Strawberries and ripe cherries abound in this Rioja, with some chocolate, wood notes and a little spice following up. I’m not usually a big fan of younger Riojas but this changed my mind, to be sure! Of course, I had to buy a bottle!
It got even better at Campo Viejo Bodega!
Raoul encouraged us to pick a favourite and take a stroll outside. The landscape is breathtaking and you can see that Campo Viejo takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. The visible footprint of the Bodega was tiny when viewed from the outside.
Raoul proceeded to tell us about the landscape in a very informative and enjoyable way. Once again, his passion for Campo Viejo and its wines shone through. There are few things as good as a passionate guide and Raoul’s passion for all things Rioja really is a credit as I said before.
The information boards on the site were packed full of useful information, including regular sightings of Hoopoes. Yeah, the number of times I have gone looking for those birds and never find them is unbelievable. I’m starting to give them mythological status along with Unicorns and the immaculate conception.
Under the Bodega
We came in from the gorgeous sunshine outside and Raoul took us into the bowels of Campo Viejo Bodega. Wow! 70,000 Barrels! As can be seen below, a group of Speleologists could be lost down here but they would die happy! Above all, it was a truly an awesome sight. Of course, I mean that in the words truest sense – it inspires awe.
Above the 70,000 barrels are the bottles. These are ageing. Depending on whether it’s a Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva depends on how long it is aged in oak barrels and indeed, how long it is aged in the bottles.
To explain the unique classifications of Rioja and how long each type of wine requires ageing see the table below:
Campo Viejo Bodega tasting
I can thoroughly recommend a Campo Viejo Bodega tasting. I learnt a lot about the great ethics of the company as well as seeing industrial-scale winemaking with the attention to detail of a boutique winery.
Not only are Campo Viejo’s green ethics clear to see to the casual visitor, but you can also see that they truly believe in them. You will also have a great time tasting some fantastic wines in gorgeous architecture with a congenial host.
Do go, you won’t be disappointed!
Failing that, grab a glass of Northern Spain below. The wine from Campo Viejo is fab, and, if you have got a taste for it, order it below from Amazon. After writing about it and reliving such a fantastic visit, I’m going to order one now!
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Where is Bodega Campo Viejo?
Thanks for reading my Campo Viejo winery bodega review, I hope you found it helpful and useful! For more information about Campo Viejo Bodega click here. To see more on our Rioja trip see Planning a Trip to the Rioja Bodegas. To learn more about Rioja wine see here
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