Contino Gran Reserva 2011 magnums
As we are approaching the end of October, I thought I would send you some inspiration for a very fine Christmas present for those who appreciate a drop of vino at perfect maturity point.
I present to you the 2011 incarnation of Contino Gran Reserva in magnums (packed in individual wooden cases).
In 2011 the winery was run by Jesus Madraso who was at the time considered to be one of the best winemakers in Rioja and some of you might remember my enthusiasm and my releases of Continos back in late 90’s and throughout 2000’s. To me it was the purest expression of Rioja of that era, and I am pleased to say that I have even been privileged to have 3 days seminar/masterclass on final blending (one to one) with Jesus at the bottling time for the 2003 vintage – one of the working highlights of my career in the trade.
But back to Contino. It was the first winery in Rioja to start using the “Chateau” concept for their wines – this means that they were the first winery to use only grapes grown at the estate for their wines. Most Rioja wineries were at the time using grapes bought in from local growers. It was the Contino that started the trend for single estate wineries and wines, which is now giving some of the best wines of the region. Jesus left Contino in 2017 to pursue his own project, but the 2011 Gran Reserva was one of the last vintages which was fully made by him from harvest to bottling.
The 2011 was a very dry vintage throughout Rioja producing intense and rich wines, most of which had reached full maturity quite early. However, the plots which are used to make Contino Gran Reserva are located on a gravel bed close to the river on a very specific terroir That proximity to the river had not only provided good supply of water in the dry summer months but had also moderated the temperatures allowing for the retention of acidity and freshness. This in turn had given the wine (which is now at the prime drinking spot) the ability to age at much slower pace and develop more complexity. This stock is a special late release from the winery which was presented at a tasting some 4 weeks ago here in London.
Contino Gran Reserva 2011 - £ 115.00 per magnum including the duty and vat in individual wooden box
The wine itself was very expressive, displaying attractive ruby core with fine brick/orange rim in the glass - just the way it should be for the Gran Reserva Rioja of this age. It had spent 3 years in barrels (new and old) and had been lying at the Contino cellars till September this year when it was shipped to UK. This additional ageing had helped to fully integrate the wood into the wine and you really have to look for it within the homogeneous complexity on display. Nose is open and complex and shows bit more of orange peal, vanilla and Mediterranean spices than the palate, but it is the palate where it all happens. The complexity and maturity make if feel more like a ball of flavour than a liquid. It is quite ethereal, coating the palate with a mixture of black cherry compote and spiced custard with some light smoke in the background. To me, it is at a prefect maturity point and shows the finesse which great Riojas can achieve given enough time to fully develop. A beautiful drop of vino which will provide a lot of pleasure for this Christmas and further 5 at least (and possibly more). Just over 3000 magnums were bottled back in April 2014 and I have managed to secure 60 of them for this season. This is not only a very fine wine, but also a rare treat to have the wine matured at the estate and released to the market at this late date.
At this price and at this quality, it is also a very decent deal, which would make a great present to any wine lover or as a wine to take to your next shoot. Or indeed, a magnum (or few) to treat yourself.
The stock is physical in the UK and ready to go and for an additional £ 15 we can have it delivered to any address in England and Wales including a card with your message – a Perfect Christmas present.
Wishing you all the best