‘A Real Keeper’ Rioja Red

‘A Real Keeper’ Rioja Red

Once again, this Spanish Gran Reserva shows extra quality and effort while remaining fairly priced

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Another year, another Campo Viejo Gran Reserva review. Yes, it’s Rioja’s largest estate, producing oceans of Tempranillo-based red. But its super-star bottling, the “Gran Reserva” (two years in oak, three years before release) remains a relative bargain in the world of “special” wine. Campo Viejo still retains that golden metal netting around each of these bottles. Once used to prevent unscrupulous re-corking or re-labeling, it remains a nice homage to a distant era; whereas microchips and bar codes do that quality control today. 2010 is a top vintage in Rioja, as this current release indicates. It will be a real keeper, if you are so inclined.

2010 Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva $24 srp

Translucent, deep ruby in color. Gorgeous nose of plump raspberry, sour cherry, tobacco and mocha that floats on a cushion of toasty, vanilla-tinged oak. Sort of a fruit paste “pâté” of lusciousness that spreads over your sinuses. Flavors are medium-full bodied but still a bit wound up, with cherry, plum and licorice elements packed with life-giving acidity. This is one of those vintages that is slyly precocious, yet its structure promises an even more integrated future. Uncork in the morning if drinking tonight! (85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo) Drink now-2023.

92/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.