Contino is the first and remains one of the greatest single-vineyard Rioja producers in the marketplace. Based on the ideals of 19th Century French château’s, Contino has been CVNE’s premier label since 1973. Back then, it was rare to grow and produce wines at the same property. In this instance, a 60-odd hectare property outside of Laguardia, in the Rioja Alavesa.
This is one of the last wines under the care of winemaker Jesús de Madrazo, the son of CVNE’s former general manager, José Madrazo. Jesus has produced two decades of elegantly sophisticated wine. I’ll miss his wines. That said, his replacement, Jorge Navascués, is an excellent winemaker in his own right.
Aged two years in oak, the Contino is Tempranillo with about 10% Graciano, and a tiny addition of Mazuelo and Garnacha. As typical for many Rioja producers, American oak use is prominent, about 50% of the barrel program, the other half French.
Structured into layers of flinty tannins, flavors of violets, damson plum, and crushed vanilla emerge on the palate. Burnt sandalwood on the finish and aroma frames red fruit flavors beautifully. There is a distinct and fresh purity here.
We previously reviewed the 2007 Contino.