Campo Viejo Garnacha 2016
Campo Viejo has a long history that dates back to the Roman Empire. However, it has been only in the last century that their name became synonymous with Rioja wines. From the first vintage – brewed in the former Ortigüela winery in 1959 – to the creation of the famous ‘Rioja Bottle’ in 1961 and the unveiling of their new state-of-the-art sustainable winery in 2001, Campo Viejo has been at the forefront of Rioja winemaking.
Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental. Wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although specific sub-region (zonas), village (municipios) and vineyard (viñedo singular) wines can now be labeled. Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Oriental produce wines with deep color and higher alcohol, which can add great body and richness to a blend.
Fresh and fruity Riojas labeled, Joven, (meaning young) see minimal aging before release, but more serious Rioja wines undergo multiple years in oak. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged for one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two, but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.
Tempranillo provides the backbone of Rioja red wines, adding complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, toast and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan) often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés.
White wines, typically balancing freshness with complexity, are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura. Some whites are blends of Viura with aromatic Malvasia, and then barrel fermented and aged to make a more ample, richer style of white.
Enjoying great glory across a variety of appellations, Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. While it can make a charmingly complex single varietal wine, it also lends well to blending. Grenache plays an important role in the blends of Spain's Priorat and in the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its Villages. The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic Grenache (there called Cannonau) whereas in California and Australia, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and in blends.
Tasting Notes for Grenache
Grenache is a dry, red wine that is typically full-bodied and interestingly light in both color and tannins. Grenache produces wines that are loaded with strawberry, cherry blackberry, purple plum and in the richest examples, even cocoa, black tea or licorice.
Perfect Food Pairings for Grenache
Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb chops, pork loin or tri-tip. Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not easily be fazed by a bit of spice.
Sommelier Secrets for Grenache
Sardinia is often revered for its association with a long and healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, crediting this to their antioxidant-rich red wines, like Cannonau, along with their healthy Mediterranean diet and low stress lifestyle.