The Winemaker’s Art cuvée by Riojan Bodega Campo Viejo is a relatively new Premium expression in the producer’s range, launched in 2015 with the first-ever 2011 vintage.
It is a blend of 100% Tempranillo grapes sourced from cooler areas of Northern Rioja where the moderating influence of the Atlantic ocean is more important. The winemaker’s aim is to produce a Tempranillo wine with freshness and vibrancy.
The wine was aged for 18 months in oak wine barrels (70% American and 30% French) selected by Campo Viejo chief winemaker Elena Adell to preserve maximum fruit character, yet provide smoothness.
This Rioja red comes in a bright red color of medium intensity, hints of oranges hues.
The nose is spicy, peppery and vibrant indeed, filled with sour cherry fruit characters, and acidic blueberry. Delicate vanilla and hints of leather. There is some depth to it brought by notes of evolution already, but it more importantly smells lively from fresh fruit flavors and lifted chili-like spiciness. Tempting and appetizing, it smells like a food-friendly wine.
The wine delivers mid-body and a medium tannic concentration to the palate. More importantly, the palate sensation and texture are silky and smooth, on a relatively round body. The winemakers have mastered their art, and achieved their goal.
Acidity is crisp and lively too, underlining positively the vibrant fresh berry fruit flavors that are powerful to the palate as well.
The finish bursts in intense sweet spices, clove, nutmeg, vanilla and caramel, a bourbon-like feel from the American oak ageing, as we love and almost expect from a classic Rioja red. Explosive and surprising ripe citrus notes, providing an orange-liqueur-like sensation from the mid-palate onwards.
Long and rather complex, this is an exciting Rioja wine in a modern style, yet retaining the essence of a classic Rioja. Mid-bodied with vibrant acidity and fruit flavors, it’s got striking smoothness and a savory edge.
Great to drink now and within 3 years to make the most of its lively fresh fruit character. Cellar for longer if you want more of the leathery notes.