When popular Spanish bodega Campo Viejo asked if I wanted to try their wines I was super excited because those Rioja wines instantly take me back to one of the best experiences in my life so far, walking the Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of Saint James in 2011.
The most popular route of this ancient pilgrimage starts in St Jean Pied de Port in France. It takes you straight over the pyrenees (ouch!), through Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, Leon and finishes in the city of Santiago – a hard but often life-changing 800 odd kilometres of walking.
Now, what has that to do with wine. A lot actually. Firstly, local wines and food simply enrich any travel experience in my view but the Camino route goes directly through a major Spanish wine region, the Rioja.
Imagine walking through vineyards for days with nothing more than the essentials on your back, stopping at bodegas and taverns along the way, fuelling the body, spirit and soul with regional food and wine matches. Heaven!
Those local and artisan food and wine pairings are a key part of any wine culture and it is something new world wine countries and regions can embrace more I think. Beside fuelling regional tourism and makers, local food and wine pairings are a great way to express unique terroirs.
Back to the Rioja…
Campo Viejo is one of the most well known bodegas in the Rioja region. Established in 1959, the all female winemaking team crafts progressive styles of Rioja wines while showcasing the most vibrant expression of the grapes.
Get a taste of Campo Viejo and the Rioja this summer with the following food and wine matches.
Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva NV with Shrimp Brochette & Ajoblanco
This traditional Cava (made like a Méthode Traditionelle) is a great drop to kick-off any family meal or fiesta with your friends.
Energetic, bubbly and yet elegant, it’s a perfect fuss-free dinner guest and beautiful match for the battered shrimps and ajoblanco.
Shrimp brochette with Ajoblanco
For the shrimp
8 large shrimps
100g wheat flour
175ml sparkling water
Salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
For the ajoblanco
280g peeled pistachios
500g mineral water
120g olive oil
1 clove garlic
- Blend all the ajoblanco ingredients except the olive oil in a food
processor or blender for 2 minutes at maximum speed.
- Decrease to medium speed and slowly trickle in the oil.
- Clean and peel the shrimp and thread onto a skewer.
- In a bowl mix the flour and water until you reach a doughy
consistency, creating a tempura batter.
- Dunk the prawns into the tempura and fry at 180oC. Serve with the
ajoblanco and Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva.
Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2014 with Mediterranean Steak Tartar
Made from 85% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano and Mazuelo grapes, this signature Rioja wine, aged for 3 years to receive its Reserva accreditation.
A mature and smooth Spaniard with an intense aroma, complex but well-balanced character that leaves a long-lasting impression. Ripe dark fruit notes and spice make it an ideal accompaniment to a well-prepared, traditional steak tartar.
Mediterranean Steak Tartar
200g fillet of beef
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive tapenade
Salt to taste
- Remove any fat from the meat and finely chop with a sharp knife.
- In a bowl dress the meat with the mayonnaise, grated zest of the
orange, a few drops of Worcester sauce and the mustard. Season
- To plate up, pile into a rectangular mould up to 1cm high. Top with
capers and olive tapenade. Serve with plain potato chips and Campo
Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo 2017 with Hanger Steak and Maize Porridge
If you love Hawke’s Bay Cab Savs and are not afraid of bold tannins, this well-priced Tempranillo is a must-try.
Expressive, chatty and intense, this juvenile is the perfect guest for a summer BBQ, offering upfront cherry and raspberry notes, followed by calmer, softer nuances of vanilla and subtle spice, leaving a long lasting impression.
Hanger steak with Maize Porridge
For the hanger steak
250g hanger steak
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
For the porridge
100g cornmeal or polenta
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
- For the porridge, place the milk, butter, cream and clove of garlic
into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Slowly add
the polenta or cornmeal and cook for 8 minutes, stirring gently.
Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- To prepare the steak, lightly salt all over and then add to a lightly
oiled, hot frying pan. Sear all over and remove from the pan, allowing
time to rest. The aim is to have a steak cooked rare to medium-rare.
- Cut the steak into four pieces and serve alongside the bowl of maize
porridge and Campo Viejo Tempranillo.
Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 with Cheesecake
This Gran Reserva spent 2 years in oak and 3 years in bottle prior to being invited to any special celebration.
Like any mature personality, it oozes complexity, a refined character and deep conversations. Its plum, blackberry and tobacco notes make this drop a perfect match for gran’s signature cheesecake.
400g cream cheese
100g aged cheese
200g caster sugar
280g egg whits
140g egg yolks
Blackberries and red currents to serve
- Blend all ingredients using a food processor then transfer to non-
stick cake mould.
- Let the mixture sit for 1 hour then place in a preheated oven at 220oC
for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool before refrigerating for 8 hours.
- Decorate the cake with the berries and serve with Campo Viejo Gran
I hope you get to enjoy some Rioja wine culture this summer with these delicious sips and recipes. Campo Viejo wines are available in supermarkets and selected fine wine stores, bars and restaurants around New Zealand.