Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza 2007

Go to the wine section of any reasonably sized supermarket, find the part marked
Posted 03rd November 2010        

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Go to the wine section of any reasonably sized supermarket, find the part marked ‘Spain’, and you’ll see a bottle of this wine sitting there. Campo Viejo Rioja it says in big red letters on a bright yellow label which evokes images of adventure, armada and sun. There’s something undeniably romantic about it: a sense of passion and freedom. Perfect for accompanying glistening dark red spicy meats, charred squid seared on the grill, and revolutionary talk under a slowly ebbing orange orb.

I can’t be the only one labouring under the spell of these idealised associations: Rioja is probably Spain’s most famous wine export. A combination of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo grapes, it is beloved by many. My girlfriend’s father, when asked what he wants for his birthday, seldom answers anything other than an exclamatory ‘Ree-oh-ha!’ He loves Campo Viejo’s offerings, as does a friend who sees in its freewheeling yet robust nature the perfect accompaniment to an evening of good food and liberated conversation. In it they find an easily obtainable and decent quality slice of Spanish sun.

My opinion? Can’t stand the stuff. I don’t know why, but for some reason it actually makes me feel physically sick. Which isn’t a quality I particularly rate highly in a wine.

Yes this is the second bottle I’ve tried, no I wasn’t otherwise ill or hungover. Yes I can’t really stomach coffee either although I love the taste, no I don’t get this with any other wine.

I’m sure its not Campo Viejo’s fault, more this style. Oaked to within an inch of its life and smothered in vanilla, it is velvety, alcoholic and smoky. Something this perfumed and intoxicating must be had with food – if only to prevent its all-pervasive aroma from penetrating your very soul – and I’ll admit it went okay with a risotto covered with whatever that cheap version of Parmesan is called. But after one glass the thought of another made my stomach churn.

Of course, there is the very real possibility that I am a big wuss and there will be people out there who will mock my whimperings as they guzzle a bottle of the stuff while grasping a huge chunk of chorizo in one hand and an Ernest Hemingway book about bullfighting in the other.

But they’re welcome to it.

For the sound of stomach a bottle costs £7.99 at


9 Responses to “Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza 2007”

  1. You hate all my favourite wines 😮

    Actually I’ve only tried the one with the orange label, but I LOVE that one. I think you need oak therapy or something…

  2. We tried this wine for the first time tonight at a Wisconsin wine bar. Loved it and found your review while looking for a place to buy it. Different strokes for different folks. We like oak. Burn it, grow it, drink its notes in wine.

  3. Spanish wines are not top of my list, in fact they are
    close to the bottom. This wine has changed me! It is a easy red
    that works for me. What next. I try another roija at twice the
    price (thinking i must be missing something) and it sent spain back
    down again. Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza the only spanish wine worth
    affordable drinking.

  4. “…smothered in vanilla, it is velvety…”

    “…aromas of black fruit and vanilla. Velvety and elegant”

    rewording the published opinions of experts may not be plagiarism, but it doesn’t look good. Careful, Mr. Bambury.

  5. There is a finite number of words (about 30) that are generally used to describe wine in the English language – that field becomes even narrower when describing the exact same bottle of wine, so short of describing a completely different wine, there’s likely to be some cross-over, wouldn’t you think?

    Also, if it’s “not plagiarism” (which it clearly isn’t from your selected quotes) then it “doesn’t look good” to use the word, does it? Particularly when hiding behind a screen-name.

    If you’d like to provide the link to the “expert” opinion you cite (your own, by any chance?), please do, and we can judge for ourselves.

  6. priam – Can you tell us who was first to use ‘velvety’ and ‘vanilla’ as descriptions of this wine? 🙂

    “Campo Viejo Crianza is Ruby red in colour and has a sweet cherry aroma with vanilla and oak flavours. This wine has a light smooth velvety texture – recommended! ”

    “Intense aromas of plums, cherries, hints of strawberries and toasty vanillin oak.”

    “A classic Rioja that’s ruby red in colour with sweet cherry aromas and silky oak flavours. It has a light, smooth velvety texture that makes it easy to drink. ”

    “It’s the light, smooth velvety texture of this wine makes it a pleasure to drink.”

    “Ruby red in colour with sweet cherry aromas and silky oaky flavours. Light, smooth velvety texture.

    A typical Rioja wine with great fruit concentration. The sweet berry aromas of the Tempranillo grape mingle with the vanilla imparted by the oak. ”

    “Deep ruby red, with aromas of dark berries and vanilla. Velvetysmooth and elegant. Ideal to accompany red and white meat, roasts and cheese.”

  7. I really like Campo Viejo. Know what he means though. Rioja is quite sweet. I have a sweet tooth, though.

  8. Get a life Mr Bamburg and stop being a wine snob. Sure we can all Merlot, Malbac and Beaujolais wines but they are not always the best in the world. Campo Viejo Rioja is a good wine and nothing you can say about will pursuade me different.
    A good Rioja or Tempranello are great wines with red meat.
    The only wine comment of yours I have agreed with is concerning Cotes de Roussillon wines which I discovered over 20 years ago when I spent 2 glorious weeks there when the area was just developing. Been drinking wines from the area ever since.

  9. I’ve also got to disagree with the original review of this wine. It’s one of the few red wines I can tolerate. Maybe I’m not a wine snob and just a simple wine drinker who finds that this inexpensive Spanish wine is highly drinkable unlike other reds that cost more. I don’t understand how someone can trash this wine yet admits to imbibing a second bottle.

Meet the Author:
Adam Bamburg
Adam spent much of his youth in Hampshire, somewhere between Winchester and Southampton. After extracting a degree involving psychology and philosophy from a Nottingham-based university, he bid the midlands farewell and ventured back south to live in Brighton. There he found his vocation in writing: first evaluating the musical performances and recorded output of assorted beat-combos, then branching out into the terrifying world of art criticism. Despite his best efforts he now works in ‘the media’ in London. As Adam grew older and wiser he realised that wine was his favourite alcoholic beverage, that some wines are better than others, and that furthering his knowledge of the grape and producer often increased his enjoyment of the drink at the same time. He hopes to share the fermented fruits of his voyage of discovery here.