Wine is not meant to be complicated but in today’s ever-expanding market that concept doesn’t always ring true. For the average person, wine tastings are a great way to figure out what you like. Unfortunately, you can sometimes leave your favorite wine store or restaurant more confused than when you came.
Dark cherries, citrus, oak, and wet earth. Have you ever heard these used to describe a wine? Of course, you have! Wine is totally subjective but there are common flavors that many individuals experience when they taste particular wines. Knowing those things helps but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll walk away really knowing what you like.
Fast forward to Campo Viejo’s Wine Blending and Master class at the fabulous Rose Room in Bar Bevy. Upon arrival, we were greeted with their Brut Rose, Brut Reserva, and Reserva. As Miami temperatures rise I tend to opt for bubbles and their Brut Reserva was the perfect selection. It was crisp with hints of citrus making it the perfect choice for relaxing on Swan’s balmy balcony.
Campo Viejo has not one but three female winemakers at the helm. We were lucky enough to have the one and only Irene Pérez Guiterréz lead our class. She completed her studies in Pharmacy but soon went on to be trained in Oenology. While seemingly unrelated both fields require a strong understanding of chemical processes. It is clear that studying Pharmacy vastly enhanced her abilities as a winemaker and contributed greatly to her current success.
As the largest producer of wine in the Rioja region, Campo Viejo has been at the forefront of sustainability and research. Their underground barrel room is home to over 70,000 wine barrels, making it the largest barrel room in Spain. That underground storage keeps the temperature constant and reduces their carbon footprint.
The blending table was set with individual stations that featured glass beakers and graduated cylinders. Each spot had a bottle of Tempranillo, Gracian, and Mazuelo for use in our custom wines. To start we tasted each varietal and discussed its attributes. From there Irene told us to focus on what we like and not to stop until we had achieved our desired result. I made four underwhelming attempts but after consulting with our resident Winemaker I was able to make the vino of my dreams.
Irene spends her days fully immersed in every aspect of winemaking and it shows when you interact with her. It was incredible watching her taste each blend and know exactly what was missing. That’s the essential piece that I’ve missed in standard wine tastings. I was tasting wines that had already been blended so I didn’t understand what the flavors were and where they came from. The actual act of blending the wine made everything else make sense.
That perspective of what goes into making a bottle of wine made this experience even more unique. After I perfected my recipe, my bottle was whisked away and corked. Each bottle was named by its creator and carried home to await a grand finale. I named my bottle after my Mom so I plan on letting her uncork it during her next visit.
If blending our own wine wasn’t cool enough we were allowed a sneak peek of Campo Viejo’s newest launch. Since it is Rose season, it seems apropos that they will be launching one just in time for summer. It is slated to hit shelves in June 2019 and should be available at most major wine retailers. Their Rose is dry, with a floral nose and leaves no aftertaste on the finish. Keep your eyes peeled because this Rose is sure to be a hit.
The Aspiring Gentleman was hosted by Campo Viejo. All opinions are my own.