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Rioja wine innovation uncorked

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Campo Viejo and Decanter held a masterclass on wine innovation...

On 14th July 2016, Campo Viejo and Decanter held a masterclass on Rioja wine innovation for 50 readers of Decanter in the Ametsa with Arzak Instruction restaurant in central London.

Campo Viejo

Presented by Sarah Jane Evans, Chairwoman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, and Campo Viejo’s winemaker Irene Perez and brand ambassador Federico Lleonart, the masterclass talked about a new Rioja – one where decades of experience of making traditional wines is now giving way to experimentation with more grape varieties and barrel ageing techniques. And Campo Viejo is leading the way.


Campo Viejo is one of very few wineries in the world to have its very own experiential wing within its winery, near Logrono. Equipped with smaller scale tanks, this facility allows winemakers to experiment with new grape varieties and winemaking techniques and, if successful, easily scale up new wines to the main winery. So when in 2009 the Board of Rioja authorised the planting of 1,725 hectares of six white grape varieties to enhance white wine sales, Campo Viejo saw it as a great opportunity to introduce a new white Rioja.


Following years of experimentation with Viura and Tempranillo Blanco grapes, chief winemaker Elena Adell was certain that the new flagship white wine had to be made from these two varieties that are indigenous to the Rioja region. The result, Campo Viejo Viura Tempranillo Blanco, was a wine full of character, where the floral aroma for the Viura grape is perfectly balanced by the fruit and citrus notes of Tempranillo Blanco.

Elena Adell says: “As experts in Tempranillo, the grape that made Rioja famous, we are proud to be leading the way in bringing wine lovers a brand new expression of this wonderful grape variety – but this time in white.”


Very few people know about Tempranillo Blanco and Campo Viejo is proud to be the first brand to bring this grape variety to sale, for now exclusively in the UK. But wine innovation doesn’t stop there for the Rioja’s leading wine brand: Campo Viejo is also planning to launch a different interpretation of its red Reserva, a 100% Tempranillo wine aged in specially selected barrels.

The guests of the masterclass at Ametsa with Arzak Instruction were among the first in the UK to taste the two new innovations, as well as the brand’s well known Reserva and Gran Reserva. All were appreciated with the finest Basque cuisine London has to offer.


“I was honoured to be able to talk to Decanter readers about Rioja wine innovation and present our new wines,” said winemaker Irene Perez. “By the end of the evening, a number of people came to thank the presenters and to tell us that they have learnt something new about Rioja and Campo Viejo – and it’s the most rewarding feeling in the world.”


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