Star Grape Of Rioja
Rioja was the first Spanish wine region to rise to the highest level of Denominación de Origen Calificada, or DOCa. Today it is one of only two regions to achieve that distinction.
The rise to the top of the Spanish wine world is powered by the Tempranillo grape. Nowhere else are wines crafted with this elegance and flair.
We’ve come to appreciate Tempranillo because it can produce a medium to medium-light bodied wine with some delicate flavor notes. At times heavy, tannic wines can be a drag – especially when it comes to pairing with food.
A Nice Introduction to Ull de Llebre
Ull de Llebre is on of the half dozen or so synonyms for Tempranillo. That’s your wine insider tip of the week. If you are passing through northeastern Spain, you’ll know what to order. Loosely translated, it means “eye of the hare.”
Closer to home, my wife popped open the Campo Viejo with a plate of olives and some cheese. Nice move! In Madrid and Barcelona, tapas and small plates are the rule – along with outstanding Spanish wine.
This Campo Viejo Tempranillo retails for $9.99 and is one of their entry level wines. They also offer Riserva and Gran Riserva versions of Tempranillo which have longer aging requirements. American oak barrels are part of the signature flavor profile of Rioja – but this bottle is very light on the oak.
It offers medium to light body – on par with a Pinot Noir. There are flavors of strawberry, vanilla and spice. In Rioja grapes from the three subregions – Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa – are traditionally blended together. A regulatory council ensures that all wines in the region follow strict production rules to ensure a consistent Rioja product. The Campo Viejo is an easy drinking wine that pairs well with food and is ideal for casual occasions. It also is perfect for wine lovers who dislike heavy, ponderous wines.
We suggest this bottle of Camp Viejo wine as a launching point for a tour of Tempranillo. It’s a solid value and should entice you to sample different types of Tempranillo (like Crianza or Reserva) and Tempranillo from other regions as well. Tempranillo is one of the world’s greatest grapes – we think you’ll agree.
Full Disclosure: This wine was received as a marketing sample.