Bodega Contador, Rioja, Spain

Bodega Contador is located in the town of Sin Vincente de la Sonsierra.  The bodega is most famous for the flagship Contador, one of the most expensive wines from Rioja, and the first Spanish wines to be awarded 100 points by Robert Parker. Benjamin Romeo of Contador began production in a rock hewn cellar under the castle of San Vincente although production has now moved to a modern winery in view of the castle. Contador makes modern Rioja with an methodical and rigourous approach to winemaking, as proudly shown by the data sheets provided on their website.

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Rock-hewn Cellar under San Vincente Castle

Visits to the Contador winery are by appointment and can be tailored to suit your needs. Alternatively for those on a tighter schedule La Tercera Estacion wine bar in the town of San Vincente sells the lower half of the range by the glass, and the rest of the range by the bottle. We opted for the latter option as a break for lunch due to the large number of visits we had planned for the day. I have included some brief tasting notes below.

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The view of the modern winery from the castle in San Vincente

Predicador Blanco 2013:

Rich, intense nose, well integrated oak, some sweetness on the palate. Score: 90/100 (DT)

Predicador Tinto 2013:

Clear fruit; big flavours; moderate-high tannin. High alcohol but manages to balance. I have since bought a few bottles of this as it is very reasonably priced so will add more formal note in the future. Score: 91/100 (DT)

Cueva de Contador 2012:

This was one of my favourite bottles from the trip to Rioja. Despite big bold flavours it had a lot of elegance. My notes at the time: “Superb. Sweet, seductive, integrated warming oak, silky tannins, incredible depth of fruit. Like a Bordeaux with scorched earth.” I have a bottle of this laid down in the cellar and look forward to returning to it in a few years time. Score: 92-93/100 (DT)

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Menu at La Tercera Estacion – I highly recommend the Croquetas

Conclusion: I am not necessarily one to go for chasing Parker points, however, from what I have tasted the wines of Contador live up to the accolades. My cellar contains 3 bottles from Contador at present and I have given one as a gift too. I will be reviewing a bottle of A Mi Manera 2014 in the next couple of months. Hopefully I will taste the other wines in the Contador range next time I am in Rioja if not before.

Distributors: Berry Brothers had some of the Contador wines discounted recently so may be worth a look and see if you can pick up a deal.

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