Editor’s Note: This Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo 2014 review is part of our value wine series. Discover great tasting and affordable wines that are easy to find! In this review, you’ll learn a bit about the Campo Viejo wine maker, tasting notes for the Rioja Tempranillo 2014 vintage, as well as some of our recommended food pairing ideas.
Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo Review, Tasting Notes & Food Pairings
From: Logroño, Rioja, Spain
We’ve discussed other vintages of Campo Viejo’s Tempranillo before, and given the popularity of the 2014 we figured it was time to give it a review. Like many other Rioja-based brands, Campo Viejo crafts a line of wines that are predominantly made from the Tempranillo grape. This particular version is one of their youngest, and it’s evident on the palate. Other wines made by Campo Viejo include their Reserva and Gran Reserva blends, which are aged for longer periods in both oak and the bottle, per regulatory standards employed by the DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada) in La Rioja, Spain.
Given that wines labeled “Rioja” must adhere to strict quality standards, there’s a great level of consistency between wines made from the same grape across dozens of different brands in the region. Since the actual wine making and aging techniques are somewhat similar regardless of brand, the ultimate flavor and aromas of a particular wine are often times a direct result and driven by the individual vineyards and micro-climates utilized to craft that bottle. These allows for a level of Terroir-expression that in many cases can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Crafting Campo Vioja Rioja Tempranillo
Tempranillo, which has long been thought of as native to the Rioja wine region (although this is not 100% certain), has been a mainstay in terms of Spanish wine for centuries. Campo Viejo leverages the unique combination of both Mediterranean and Atlantic-style micro climates across 3 different Rioja sub-appellations for the production of the Campo Viejo Tempranillo 2014. Tempranillo grapes are actually harvested from several vineyards within these appellations for the production of this wine, which include Rioja Baja, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta.
According to Campo Viejo…
Our winemaker, Elena Adell, carefully cultivates the unique character of Tempranillo by combining the characteristics of three different climates – the light flavours from Rioja Alta, the full-bodied flavours from the harsher conditions of Rioja Alavesa and the deeper flavours from the warmer and drier region of Rioja Baja.
Rioja Baja offers hot summers with mild winds and little rainfall, which allow the grapes to grow with minimal distraction and distinction, which concentrates their flavors and churns out grapes with a high sugar content quickly while slightly lessening acidity. Grapes from here tend to produce wines with an elevated alcohol content, a medium-body and a relatively deep ruby red color and flavor.
Rioja Alavesa receives much more rainfall and breezes, especially at elevation and is characteristically an Atlantic-style climate. The soil here also does not have much nutriment, which ultimately forces the vines to work hard to survive. This further concentrates the flavors of the grapes, and in conjunction with a slightly longer growing season thanks to a slightly cooler climate, Tempranillo grapes from here tend to be more full-bodied and acidic. In fact, the soil condition can be so poor that many growers will space their vines substantially so each individual vine has the opportunity to gather the essential nutrients they need. In some cases, Rioja Alavesa Tempranillo is considered the backbone of many Rioja wines. To me, it was also the most beautiful sub-appellation in La Rioja as well.
Rioja Alta is hot and dry and a bit more elevated than the other two regions (Alta in Spanish translates to “Tall”). Tempranillo grapes in this area ripen quickly given their proximity to constant sunshine, which results in some lighter-bodied, bright red fruit flavored wines.
If you were to put all of the above together, you get the following tasting notes for a youthful, 3-appellation bred, 100% Tempranillo wine from La Rioja.
Get a glimpse of Campo Viejo’s wine making practices in the video below:
Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo 2014 Tasting Notes
In the glass, this wines emits a clear ruby color with light-medium intensity. The nose is bright, with black cherry, hints of new leather and ripe red currant of a medium intensity as well.
On the opening palate, the 2014 Campo Viejo Tempranillo is medium-bodied and dry. Expect immediate hints of bright, ripe red fruit on the open backed by undertones of black currant and elevated acidity. The mid-palate softens a bit, with more mild acid, cracked spice box and dry, earthy underbrush tones. Approaching the finish, the spice, earth and ripe red fruit combine forces over black cherry, red currant and lingering hints of subtle vanilla. The finish is a medium length.
Campo Viejo Tempranillo Food Pairings
The 2014 Tempranillo is actually a fantastic food pairing option. Why? Well, it’s got medium-plus acid and noticeable tannins, which essentially means bolder flavored dishes and cheeses can be used to give the perception of better balance with this wine. That being said, here are a few of our favorite food pairing options alongside the 2014 Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo:
- Cuban Mojo-marinated Roasted Pork
- Green Chile Bison Burger
- Memphis-style Charcoal Spicy Grilled Ribs
- Argentine-style Spicy Grilled Swordfish with Spicy-Orange Chimichurri, Pan-Roasted Peppers and Charred Sweet Potato Chips
- Spicy Italian (Yes, I said Italian) Meatballs
The Campo Viejo 2014 Rioja Tempranillo is a solid wine for the price. Worth noting, however, is that this wine is still a little bit young for consumption. The palate is still quite bright, with elevated acidity and noticeably astringent tannins. The balance just isn’t quite there yet. That being said, you can certainly drink it right now, but you’ll get a better balance in late 2017 or throughout 2018 with this vintage. But don’t take it too seriously, there are more complex, aged Rioja’s out there. The Campo Viejo is so affordable that even though the balance may be a bit off, you’ll still enjoy it and it’s a great crowd pleaser. Serve at around 61 degrees Farenheit and it will soften some of the bite (15 minutes in the average fridge). Plus, as we mentioned above, sharp cheeses, meat and game will help balance this wine on the palate.
You can find it for as little as $8.99 if you’re lucky, though the average price is closer to $10.99. You can actually buy the Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo (2014 Vintage) online right now at Wine.com for $9.99 — delivered.