Campo Viejo, Tempranillo, Reserva 1999. Rioja ~$14.00
Ahhh....... Spain, home to beautiful Spanish women, tapas y canas, and the Tempranillo grape. I have had some good times in Spain and was fortunate enough to work at a winery in the Ribero de Duero region which ment working with my favorite Spanish grape, Tempranillo. I found that there is a strong rivalry between Ribero de Duero and Rioja. They say that Rioja is where the tourists and the money goes but all the good wine comes from the tall plateaus of the RdD. Of course, I am biased but I do agree. There are fantastic crianzas and reservas from Rioja but the RdD is where the biggest, and in my opinion, the best wines of Spain are coming from.
Anyhow, I am off track. I do still like Rioja and I enjoyed this wine as a light easy drinking red. It is lighter in body and structure than other Tempranillos I have had but it is smooth and a good food wine when paired with lighter meet, and poultry dishes.
Color: The edges are pretty brown, with an orangy-purple core. This is from so much barrel aging. A reserva is supposed to be aged in barrel for two years before bottling and then two more years in bottle before being released. No doubt the barrels were a couple of years old and were not topped very regularly. But this isn't bad winemaking, it's just the style of the region. I found barrels in Spain that were 20 years old, holding new vintage wine. Its just what they do so don't look for much oak character in this wine. Oh by the way, due to the tumultuous history of Spain and France, it is customary that Tempranillo is aged in American oak.
Nose: Aromas of sweet orange liqueur, and cracked pepper corns. Pretty subdued but it does smell like a Tempranillo.
Palate: Very light, no tannin, low acidity and a quick finish. Some boiled pepper flavors kicking around.
Overall: It is not an unpleasant wine, its just not a very interesting or complex wine. I have had some better Tempranillos. I think Rioja blends offer a better value.
I give it a B-