Goedhuis, May 2021
Plush plums and fleshy red fruits are underpinned by tantalising notes of chocolate, vanilla and tobacco. Whispers of smoke and forest floor add beautiful complexity this 2010 Gran Reserva. It is supple, elegant and very well-define thanks to pure fruit, silky tannins and refreshing acidity. A brilliant wine.
Wine Advocate, August 2016,
Bottled only in magnum (and larger sizes), the 2010 Gran Reserva is produced with grapes from their oldest vineyards as a classic blend of Tempranillo, 15% Graciano, 12% Garnacha and a pinch of Viura; the grapes were fermented in cement vats with malolactic in barrel and the wine underwent an élevage in used French (60%) and American oak barrels for three years, followed by another three years in bottle. It has a very spicy nose with tantalizing aromas reminiscent of curry and some red and black fruit, very clean and precise. It develops some faint lactic notes spiced up with cinnamon. The palate is focused and polished, with great balance (14.4% alcohol and a 3.3 pH), great acidity and volume. This is the best of the wines I tasted from Contino in this sitting.
Vinous, May 2017,
Brilliant ruby. An expansive, highly perfumed nose displays an array of ripe red fruits and pungent flowers, along with oak spice, vanilla and pipe tobacco overtones. Juicy and concentrated on the palate, offering intense, smoke-laced black raspberry and cherry-vanilla flavors and a suave rose pastille nuance that builds as the wine opens up. Finishes smooth, sweet and quite long, with slow-building tannins that fold smoothly into the sweet fruit. This is a distinctly graceful and seductive expression for this vintage. Drink 2020-2030
CVNE’s Contino is one of Rioja’s flagship wineries and is widely regarded as one of the greatest. Founded in the 16th Century it sits on one of the best terroirs in Rioja Alavesa and since 1973 it has been pioneering single estate Riojas from specific plots on the property. This innovation has produced some outstanding results, the wines have received top awards and glowing reviews from the critics.
By the far the best known of Spain's wine regions is Rioja, which takes its name from the rio(river) Oja, a tributary of the river Ebro. Lying in the north of the country, along the Ebro valley, the area is sheltered from rain-bearing Atlantic winds by the dramatic Sierra de Cantabria to the north and west. The hilly vineyards are interspersed with orchards, poplars and eucalyptus trees. Rioja is further divided into three sub-regions - Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. The first two are best regarded, with vines planted on cool slopes with clay and limestone soils. The permitted grape varieties for Rioja are tempranillo, which is grown extensively in Rioja Alta and Alavesa and will form the backbone of all the best wines, garnacha, widespread in Rioja Baja and used to add body to the blend, and mazuelo (carignan) and graciano, both grown in miniscule proportions. The key to understanding Rioja is the technique used to mature the wine. Unlike most other areas of Europe, American oak barrels are used which give the wines their characteristic soft vanilla, almost coconuty flavour. Historically the wines were aged for periods far longer than legally required, until all the fruit character had died down and the end result was a light, tawny-coloured wine dominated by oak flavours. Although there are still supporters of this classic style, far more producers are making wines in a more modern way, allowing the dark berry fruit flavours to burst through balanced by a more judicious use of oak ageing and often opting for French oak now.