Champagne and Rioja TNs

For NYE we drank copious amounts of Lucien Albrecht Cremant de Alsace Rose. While I don’t have a formal note, this is always a pleasant bottle of bubbles and I was thrilled that it was so reasonable on the restaurant list. The following bottles were consumed New Years Day and today.

NV Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvee de Reserve- this was enjoyable but didn’t really blow me away. I’ve had one prior bottle of Pierre Peters ('96 Cuvee Speciale) which was magical so I had fairly high expectations. I realize this is not on the same level though. Tight nose that didn’t offer much initially. After about an hour, I got a little lemon oil and a lot of minerality. The palate was moderately creamy and less structured than I expected. Based on the nose, I expected very zippy acidity and minerality. The finish was reasonably long though. Not sure this is a buy for me at the price point. ***

2003 Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva- I know this is a supermarket wine but this isn’t too bad at all. It was on sale at the store tonight so I thought I’d give it a shot. Deep red color with no bricking. A healthy dose of American oak on the nose that blows off with air. Deep red cherries, smoke, and an impression of creaminess. The palate is surprisingly medium-bodied with tart red fruit, mouth-watering acidity and a long finish. A well-balanced wine that went very well with dinner. This is a very solid value at under $20. ***1/2

I got to visit and have lunch at Bodegas Juan Alcorta this past March. Yes, they churn out a hell of a lot of supermarket wines, but I’ve also found them to be quite decent for what they are. From the handful I’ve tasted thus far of their Campo Viejo, I tend to prefer the crianzas - but that’s just me.

Best,

N

Thanks for the link Noel. Your notes and blog are really helping me with my new interest in Rioja. I agree with your comment that the Campo Viejo is impressive in that it maintains such typicity considering its production numbers. I’m pretty sure I would have been able to pick this as Rioja in a blind tasting. I’ll go get a bottle of the Crianza to see how it is. Thanks!