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2015 Contino Reserva Rioja

SKU #1509241 96 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark This shows so much intense dark berry such as blueberries and blackberries with hints of flowers. Lavender too. Full body, dense tannins with freshness and intensity. So tight and focused. A classic Rioja. Needs five to six years of bottle age to come around. Inner quote mark (8/2018)

94 points John Gilman

Outer quote mark The 2015 Contino Reserva is composed this year of a blend of eighty-five percent tempranillo, ten percent graciano and five percent a mix of garnacha and Mazuelo. The wine was aged two years in cask, with all of the barrels older, comprised of a mix of sixty percent French oak and forty percent American oak. The wine comes in at fourteen percent and delivers a deep and beautifully refined bouquet of black cherries, sweet dark berries, Cuban cigar wrapper, Rioja spice tones, a touch of smoked meats, complex soil tones and just a whiff of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and nicely structured out of the blocks, with a great core, excellent soil transparency and grip, ripe tannins and a long, vibrant and very, very promising finish. In due course, this is going to be a very elegant vintage of Contino Reserva, but it will need some time in the cellar to really start to blossom! Inner quote mark (1/2021)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The 2015 Reserva is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% split between Mazuelo and Garnacha that wants to express the character of the Contino estate. It fermented in 12,000-liter stainless steel at 28 degrees to 30 degrees Cesius with 15 to 20 days of maceration and an élevage in 60% French and 40% American oak barrels for two years. It feels fresher than the 2014, and it also shows younger, with better integrated oak, subtle aromas and nice balance. It's medium-bodied, with very fine tannins and good freshness, integrated and balanced. I look forward to tasting the 2016 of this wine, because this 2015 is going in a direction that I like. (LG) Inner quote mark (6/2019)

94 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark Malty berry aromas are supported by cocoa, mocha and berry-fruit scents. This has a jammy plum and berry palate, with a ripe, slightly desiccated red-fruit-flavor profile. Depth and balance drive the finish, which is usually a good indication that aging will only help. *Editors' Choice* (MS) Inner quote mark (9/2019)

93 points Decanter

Outer quote mark Viñedos del Contino was founded in 1973 by CVNE, with the aim of pioneering single estate wines in Rioja. This Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha from the estate, aged in French and American oak for two years and spending another year in bottle before release. Lifted and elegant aromas of black and red fruit lead to a smooth and silky cassis and black cherry palate with fine tannins, expanded by spice notes from the well-judged oak. Nothing is overplayed here: elegant and very enjoyable. (JS) Inner quote mark (11/2019)

93 points Vinous

Outer quote mark A highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berry, potpourri and fruitcake scents, along with suggestions of cola and smoky minerals. Concentrated and supple in texture, showing impressive depth and definition to the juicy black raspberry, cherry liqueur and mocha flavors. A suave floral quality emerges with air and carries through the very long, gently tannic finish, which leaves behind sweet red berry and vanilla notes. (JR) Inner quote mark (2/2019)

K&L Notes

In 1973 Contino was founded and became the first of the new wave of single vineyard Rioja estates. Today, the winery makes some of Rioja's finest wines, polished and comparably modern, but with a sense of balance and restraint that gives them amazing elegance and great longevity. Simply put, this is modern Rioja executed perfectly. Contino's Rioja also boasts a healthy 10% dollop of older vine Graciano, which enhances the wine's color, freshness and ageability.

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Price: $37.99
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By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/28/2020 | Send Email
Contino has a special place in Rioja history, it was the first modern “Chateau” in the region. CVNE established this winery in the Rioja Alavesa village of Laguardia in 1973 with 62 ha of vines. Rioja, up to this point, was made from a blend of vineyards from all over the region. This is the first single vineyard Rioja. Unlike most of today’s single vineyard wines this is still a classic wine, it sees a mix of used American and French oak barrels and is aged in them for 2 years with additional time in bottle before it is released. I have always loved these wines, they deliver a slightly exotic expression of classic Rioja. The fruit is always a shade riper, fuller, and deeper than you expect for the “old school” Rioja. But they alway have that earthy, spicy, savory quality that you want from “old school” Rioja. This vintage is a treat! It is exotic but not forward, there is a restrained tension to this wine. The nose is dark berries, soft floral and spice. It is not an old library Rioja, with lots of old varnished spice oak, the oak presents itself as more of an exoctic wooden dresser, it is more contained and less dusty, the oak spice is an accent not a main feature. It has an intense and dense core but it is not excessively tannic nor unapproachable but you can tell that it is trying and failing to hold itself back. It is that failing which is so captivating. It makes me think of a solar eclipse. The core of the wine is like the shadow of the moon, it is dark and impenetrable but without it we cannot see the beautiful corona. The fruit on the palate is the corona. It is bright and lifted, and plays contrast to the coiled density of the wine. The longer it is opened the fruit starts to darken and become more exoctic and really expresses the Alavesa of its origin. This is a fantastic wine for the holidays, I am thinking of prime rib in particular. It could be for this year or 10 plus years from now. Please decant if drinking this year, open the wine when you take the roast out of the refrigerator. This is a wine that I cannot wait to drink again and again and watch how it evolves.

By: Chris DePaoli | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/21/2020 | Send Email
After dozens of Rioja pieces like this, it's still incredible to taste the classics. Rioja doesn't always have the weight and power of Bordeaux, or the delicate balance of Burgundy, but when done as well as this, it blends a subtle hedonism with intricate poise into a unique product of culture and climate. This is intense. Dark and tight, this is high-budget Oscar-bait, with an immediately obvious production-value, seriousness and depth that showcase the talent of the leads. Brooding doesn't begin to cover the darkness of the fruit bunched on the lithe body, prodded on and out by and acidity that hides the youth so well. Oak all the way home, combined with awesome grape tannins make for a mouthful, and to drink now you should plan on decanting for a good while, but that density will push this bottle on for thirty years or more given the right storage. Very. Good. Wine.

By: Andrew Tobin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/21/2020 | Send Email
Vintage after vintage this bottling, owned by the Cune estate, is an absolute killer! Approachable and classic the nose opens with that initial burst of American oak you can expect from the region. Plum, turmeric, and plantain come to mind on a second whiff with that round vanilla backbone. The palate is brighter with black and red fruit, round oak in the center and a fennel and slightly salty finish. that typical dusty Rioja finish makes this an absolute must have again this year!

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