Review: Campo Viejo’s 2010 Tempranillo

If someone asks me to review a wine it’s probably going to be answered in the affirmative, especially if it is a red wine. When told I would be sent a sample of Campo Viejo’s 2010 Tempranillo I thought surely it would be a small, single-serving bottle. Turns out I was provided with a full-sized bottle which ended up going to Nashville with me two weekends ago for a visit to one of my best friends from back home (who is currently living in that area).

Most of the time when I drink wine, it is not with a meal. So Becky and I decided to take the light cheese pairing suggestion on the bottle quite literally and drank this up with a platter full of crackers and mild white cheeses while watching a movie (and yes this was our dinner). Pairing with these mild cheeses was definitely the right choice because the wine itself does not have a particularly strong flavor, and may have been lost behind the flavors of a sharp cheese. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have good flavor, but for me I like having a wine that can stand alone (again going with my typical fashion of drinking wine by itself and not with a meal). In my limited experience with wine varieties, I tend to prefer Cabernet Sauvignons.

The makers of Campo Viejo also have created a three-course tasting menu which is designed to be enjoyed with the 2010 Tempranillo. The menu was inspired by survey results showing that cheeses, meats and pies were the most preferred winter foods. I actually wish I had made any one of these menu items to go along with the wine, since I may have cut it short by only sampling it with a platter-full of cheese. One of these days I will learn the art of wine-and-food pairings.

Overall I wasn’t blown away by this wine, but I did enjoy trying a different red for a change.

A versatile table choice. The deep cherry hues and intense red fruit notes make this young wine incredibly approachable, while hints of vanilla, cocoa and spice make this bottle an ideal choice for the indoor months”

THREE-COURSE TASTING MENU

First Course: Truffle Mac and Cheese

The truffles reflect the earthy undertones in the Tempranillo, and the richness of the cheese is balanced by the wine’s modest acidity.

Ingredients:

1-16 oz. box elbow macaroni

1/2 tsp salt

Olive oil

1 quart whole milk

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp rosemary, finely chopped

2 Tbsp white truffle oil, divided

12 oz. Comté cheese, grated

8 oz. white cheddar cheese, grated

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper

Shaved truffles for garnish, optional

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 10×13 baking pan.
  2. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and a drizzle of olive oil to boiling water. Add pasta and cook al dente (slightly underdone is better than overdone). Drain, rinse briefly under cold water and set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the milk over low heat until hot, but not boiling.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until melted. Reduce heat and add the flour, whisking constantly to form a smooth paste, about 2 minutes. Add in rosemary, continuing to mix.
  5. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil, then mix the Comté and cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat, and pour into baking pan.
  7. Top with the Panko bread crumbs and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown.
  8. Before serving, drizzle with remaining truffle oil and shaved truffles (if desired). Serve hot.

Second Course: Moroccan Lamb Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Tempranillo and lamb are a classic pairing, and the spices found here share the spotlight with those of the Tempranillo.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs. ground lamb

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 small onion, diced

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (optional)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika, divided

Salt

Olive oil

1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Sauté onion in a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet until soft. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine ground lamb, egg, onion, raisins (if using), cumin, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Form mixture into one ounce balls, about the size of ping pong balls.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs (in several batches if necessary) and sauté for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.
  5. In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, cayenne and remaining paprika and sauté for about a minute until fragrant, making sure not to burn. Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Remove meatballs from oven and add to sauce. Cook for another five minutes until meatballs are cooked through. Serve with couscous or rice.

Third Course: Apple Turnovers with Maple-Mascarpone Glaze

Maple and cinnamon inspire homeward bound thinking, while the apple embraces the Tempranillo’s fruit-forward notes.

Ingredients:

PASTRY AND FILLING

4 cups Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium apples), peeled, cored and chopped

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1-17.3 oz. package frozen puff pastry sheets – thawed

1-2 egg whites, lightly beaten

GLAZE

1/2 cup mascarpone, at room temperature

2 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place apples in a bowl and drizzle lemon juice over them, tossing gently to coat.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apples to skillet and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add sugar and cinnamon and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Mix together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl. Pour into the skillet and mix well. Cook for another minute or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat to cool.
  5. Unfold puff pastry sheets and trim each sheet into a square. Cut each one into 4 smaller squares. Spread apples onto the middle of each square, then fold each square in half to form a triangle. Press ends together to seal. Place the triangles 1-2 inches apart, on a slightly greased baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush the top of each turnover with beaten egg whites.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  7. To make the glaze, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over the cooled turnovers and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.

Source: Recipes and recipe photos provided to me by Nicole from The Thomas Collective via e-mail.

Disclaimer: I received one bottle of Campo Viejo’s 2010 Tempranillo to sample. I was not compensated for this review, and the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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