Wednesday 4 April 2018

Campo Viejo, Winemaker

Spanish Tapas Trail

March 29, 2018
 According to a 2015 report by International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR), Campo Viejo is the No. 1 Rioja wine brand in the world. It started in 1959, when two Spanish winemakers, Beristain and Ortigüela, came together and created the first Rioja vintage. The first Spanish winery to be certified Carbon Neutral, Campo Viejo is located in the heart of Ebro Valley in northern Spain. Its Chief Winemaker is Elena Adell.
Together with Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Campo Viejo announced its first steps into the Malaysian market on March 29 with an entertaining safari of three Hispanic bar and restaurant outlets in trendy Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Pisco Bar in a more secluded lane off Changkat Bukit Bintang
Colourful bottles line the wall behind the bar at Pisco
Members of the media and bloggers gathered at Pisco Bar to get the first sampling of Campo Viejo’s Tempranillo. On hand to greet us was Darcy Wilkosz, wine ambassador for Pernod Ricard Winemakers. Nestled in the more quiet Jalan Mesui off Changkat Bukit Bintang, this is a surprisingly chic outlet that offers not only drinks but also an interesting menu. 
Chargrilled bone-in rib steak with delicious mushrooms sauteed with onions and cherry tomato
The chefs prepared two meaty dishes to pair with the Tempranillo. A Pisco signature dish, Chuleton de Buey (RM188) comprises a hefty 800-900g charcoal-grilled bone-in rib steak with sea salt. I did not eat the beef and sadly, I was told the meat was not tender and required a lot of jaw work. But the sides were lovely; the potato gratin was deliciously creamy and mushrooms sautéed with onions and baby tomato a real aromatic treat.
Roasted Iberico with roasted peppers
Then there’s Secreto de Cerdo Iberico con escalivada (RM89). This tender cut of Iberico pork from between the shoulder blade and loin, is well marinated and so perfectly roasted that the meat remains moist and luscious. It’s served with roasted peppers and miso paste.
I have to say Pisco chefs do the side dishes amazingly well. The potato gratin, sautéed mushrooms and roasted peppers were my favourite part of the meal.
Campo Viejo’s Tempranillo is easy to drink, with distinctive flavours of red berries that feels fresh and vibrant on the palate. The young wine has a deep cherry red hue and best of all, I enjoyed the sweet aromas of vanilla and spices.

Toasted Brioche with Spanish Bacon, Mushroom and Escargot
Chorizo Slider
Then it’s on to El Cerdo, a Spanish restaurant famed for its menu that promises porky dishes from “nose-to-tail”. There, Darcy tells us about Campo Viejo’s Reserva, a medium-bodied ruby-red wine with an intense nose and flavours of cherries and plum. This wine’s an all-nighter, one that gets more expressive when allowed to develop further in a decanter.
With this, we nibbled on El Cerdo’s Toasted Brioche topped with Spanish bacon, mushroom, escargot and bone-marrow butter. Just finger-licking good. Then there were Chorizo Sliders, served with cheesy fries.

Wagyu Beef Strips with Horseradish and Spanish Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Deepfried Breaded Mushrooms with wasabi-mayo
The third venue on our little Hispanic food safari was Havana Bar & Grill, where we enjoyed the balmy evening at the al fresco dining area. Here, Darcy fills us in on the Campo Viejo Gran Reserva, a distinguished classic with a complex attitude. It’s smokey, woody and fruity with a finish that hints at coffee, tobacco and chocolate.
With this, the chef recommended Wagyu beef strips with horseradish & watercress and spaghetti with Spanish Meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce. And just because I didn’t eat beef, I was offered deepfried breaded mushrooms with a wasabi-mayo.

Pisco Bar, El Cerdo KL, Havana Bar & Grill
(not halal)
Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

You can also indulge in this Campo Viejo Tapas Trail which will be made available to the public soon. Just check for dates and other details. 

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