Rioja is the region in Spain that first got my attention. Since that time, I've discovered wines from many other parts of Spain. But Rioja is still, easily, my favorite. Today I'll look at a selection from Camp Viejo. The 2004 Campo Viejo Reserva is made entirely from fruit sourced in Rioja. 85% is Temparanillo, 10% Graciano and the final 5% is Mazuelo. This wine was aged for 18 months in a 50/50 split of American and French oak casks. This selection underwent an additional 18 months of aging once it was bottled. The suggested retail price for this Rioja is $13.
The nose of this wine is dominated by vibrant cherry notes. Cedar is present as well, but slightly less obvious. The palate is filled with red and black cherry notes as well as vanilla and white pepper spice. There is a solid core of pure fruit that drives through the entire palate and leads to the finish. Both earth and mineral notes emerge on what is a smooth, elegant, lush and slightly lusty finish. Good acidity helps keep this wine in balance.
What I like best about this wine is that it displays classic characteristics of a Rioja Reserva, in a modestly priced package. While fairly expressive immediately upon pouring, this wine really came to life after being decanted for an hour. This Rioja is priced well enough for both everyday drinking, and for those looking for a gateway into this region.
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