Campo Viejo Garnacha
Campo Viejo Garnacha

What: Spanish wines are some of the best bargains around today. With great climate and soil and lower labor costs, Spain often delivers a tasty wine at a great price.

The Campo Viejo Garnacha is just such a wine. This is a brand new wine for Campo Viejo, which is known for its Tempranillo. Making wine in the Rioja region for more than 50 years has taught the Campo Viejo folks something about Grenache because this is a beautiful wine.

Beautiful deep red of Grenache.
Beautiful deep red of Grenache.

It is a deep red color, with purple tints. Aromas of fresh red fruit and spice jump out of the glass, followed by flavors of strawberry and raspberry with a touch of cherry and toast. The wine has a pleasant medium body with good structure and soft tannins.

The finish is soft and silky but not overly long.

The grapes come from old vines in the Rioja Baja region. Rioja is the premier wine-growing region in Spain and the ancient home of the Tempranillo grape. Wine making in the region goes back to Roman times.

After crushing, the grapes are macerated with the skins for 12 days, with fermentation in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature. The wine then is aged in new French oak barrels for four months.

Even though Grenache is new to the Campo Viejo operation it is one of the most widely planted red grapes in the world. The wine often is used in blends and is not well-known to U.S. drinkers. If you haven’t tried Grenache before, this is a good wine with which to start.

The bright yellow-orange label with red lettering will make it
easy to spot at your favorite wine shop. It is bottled in a Burgundy shaped bottle to differentiate it from the Campo Viejo Tempranillo.

Winery: Founded in 1959 by two local winemakers, Campo Viejo is one of the most famous of all Rioja wines. The first vintage was made in the former Jose Ortigüela winery, and now the company has a state-of-the art environmentally friendly facility built in 2003.

Even Don Quixote would like Campo Viejo Garnacha.
Even Don Quixote would like Campo Viejo Garnacha.

The name of the winery is taken from the area around el Villar de Arnedo where Jose had spent his childhood: the “Campo Viejo”. Jose’s dream was to create quality Rioja that is perfect for enjoying with friends.

The wine was popular and the winery grew. In 2012 the winery’s commitment to sustainable practices led it to become the first winery in the world to achieve Carbon Neutral certification.

The company grows a wide variety of red grapes, including the flagship Tempranillo, as well as Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo and Maturana Tinta. White wines include Viura, Malvasía, Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, Maturana Blanca, Turruntés, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo.

The winery now is owned by Pernod Ricard, a world wide producer of wine and spirits that include Absolut Vodka, Chivas Regal Scotch Whisky, The Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Malibu flavored rum, Kahlúa Liqueur, Beefeater Gin, Plymouth Gin, Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin, Martell Cognac, Hiram Walker Liqueurs, Pernod, Ricard and Avión Tequila (through a joint venture with Tequila Avión); such superior wines as Jacob’s Creek and Brancott Estate; and such champagnes and sparkling wines as Perrier-Jouët Champagne, G.H. Mumm Champagne and Mumm Napa sparkling wines.

Cost: $12
Year: 2012
Goes with: We had this during a quiet evening of wine tasting with some friends, and it was one of the hits of the evening. Many people weren’t familiar with Grenache and came away fans.

We tried it with a variety of finger foods such as marinated skirt steak and chicken wings, and it matched all of them well.

It is a food-friendly wine, complementing an array of dishes, including vegetables, beef, lasagna and pasta. You can serve it as an aperitif or with your main course. I would serve it slightly chilled.

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