Blending in with the Pros

I love Spanish wine, so I was thrilled when I received an invite to a Campo Viejo blending masterclass. Located in Rioja, Campo Viejo was founded in 1959 by two local winemakers – Beristain and Ortigüela – and today, it is grounded in the principles of sustainable development, with a balance between oenology, architecture, and the environment (and not to mention massive, kick ass barrel ageing rooms).

Hosted at Bar Bevy – the latest swanky Miami Design District restaurant – the night kicked off on the rooftop terrace with a variety of wine – from bubbles to Tempranillo. Great conversation ensued, and I hit it off with one of Campo Viejo’s three female winemakers, Irene Pérez Gutiérrez.

Irene Pérez Gutiérrez was born in Logroño and grew up in La Rioja. She studied Pharmacy at the University of Salamanca, but after graduation, followed her passion for wine and studied oenology in the University of La Rioja. After she completed her final project in Bodegas Campo Viejo and finished her studies, Irene worked in a traditional winery in Rioja before moving to another winery in the north of Rioja. She practiced her winemaking skills for five years, and in early 2016, she joined the Campo Viejo winery, where she now works alongside Clara Canals and under the direction of Elena Adell (talk about girl power).

We moved the party inside to the private Rose Room to get the blending class underway. After a quick crash course in Rioja – from Tempranillo to Mazuelo – and a quick tasting, we got to mixing and creating our own blends. Lots of trial and error later – along with a wine splattered work station reminiscent of a crime scene – I created a blend perfect to enjoy with my mom just in time for Mother’s Day. To keep it on the softer side for mom, I blended 70% Tempranillo, 20% Mazuelo, and 10% Graciano. ¡Perfecto!

Just when I thought the night couldn’t get any better, we sampled their brand-new Rosé, which hadn’t even reached the U.S. market yet (the bottle was literally flown in). You know me – I don’t shy away from sampling Rosé! It was crisp, strawberry forward, and perfect for Miami’s climate. I can’t wait for it to get over here.

Between the chemistry, laughter, and wine, I’m ready to book my ticket to Spain and become a winemaker 😉 Cheers!

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