Friday, March 14, 2008

Two from Contino

Well, I promised a comprehensive CVNE, Vina Real, Contino post, but fate would not allow it as the notes are spread amongst two different tasting books, one of which is currently residing in Rockridge, where my tasting group recently met to taste through some wines, double blind (look for that post very soon). So, for now, two notes on some pretty amazing wines from the famed Rioja estate, Contino.

Contino Rioja Gran Reserva 1996

For the detail oriented, this cepaje is composed of 85% tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, 10% Graciano. Fermented in stainless, with a 15-20 day maceration, followed by 2.5 years in a mixture of French and American oak barrels. After 2.5 years aging in bottle, the wine is released to market. Mineral, dried cherry, spice, and everything nice that you would want in a Gran Reserva Rioja of this caliber, from such a well regarded vintage. There is great acidity and structure in this wine, and though it's tasty now it should continue to develop for a number of years.

Contino Rioja Graciano 2001

While this is decidely more modern, aged in barrique (new American and, per the website, 'semi-nueva' French oak), the wine nonetheless is impresionante. Bright, bursting purple fruits show in this single vineyard Graciano. It's intenser than a muv, with great acidity and length. Tight, though, and has a lot more to show. I'd love to see the wine in a decade. Only 3,034 bottles were produced - for between $130-$150 a bottle (I'm guessing based off the wholesale price) this wine could be yours.


manuel said...

My friend Jesús Madrazo, who made those two wines, will be happy to know you liked them. Of the modern-style Rioja producers he's the only one whose wines I respect. Chus has a classical sensibility that he applies to his glossy modern cuvées which puts them far above the rest. The Graciano is a very interesting iwne that ages very well. But $120 for it seems to me like a rip-off. I don't remember paying more than half that...

The Gran Reserva I had a chance to taste this past week, when Chus was in Manhattan. It's very attractive now, as you say, but I think its best years are ahead of it. Great structure. Tasting it in parallel with Viña Real and Imperial Gran Reservas from the same vintage, it seemed the best of the trio. Imperial, on the other hand, is the most polished and accessible right now.

Oh, and I think you meant "coupage", not "cepaje".


Joe M. said...

Yeah, the Graciano tastes like a good ager. When did they start making it? Have you had older bottles?

You're right, 'coupage,' not 'cepaje.' Muchas gracias, sr.