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2014 Contino, Rioja Gran Reserva

Looking back, to move forwards

I love the direction things are heading at Contino. Under the guiding hand of the talented Jorge Navascues, the focus is on freshness and the wines are getting ever more impressive. I just tasted their latest release and it's like no Gran Reserva Rioja I've ever experienced. Invariably, Gran Reservas, with their protracted ageing in barrel, pick up a lot of oak influence and can have rather austere tannins; 2014 Contino is quite the exception.

The 2014 growing season was interspersed with the occasional day of rain in Summer. This helped raise acidity and the wine benefits from exceptional freshness, as a result. Temperatures were warm but increased yields compensated for this and the grapes were not overly ripe. A short, cool maceration was followed by gentle fermentation, with extraction kept minimal. 

Navascues explained that the aim is to produce a modern day version of the great Gran Reservas that Contino's historic sister estate, Vina Real made in the 50s - 70s, which had legendary capacity to age. I've tasted some of those phenomenal classics and I'd be more than happy to see their like re-created. 

Richard Hemming MW also attended the tasting and remarked on how it would be impossible to identify this as a Gran Reserva in a blind tasting; which was entirely meant as a compliment. I'll look forward to reading his tasting note...

Prior to this release, Contino Gran Reserva was always bottled for sale in magnum so this is the first opportunity to acquire it in 750ml bottles.

ETA is November 2021

2014 Contino Gran Reserva

70% Tempranillo, 15% Graciano, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Garnacha

£235.00 per 6 Bot Case, in bond
£298.07 Duty & VAT paid

£250.00 per 3 Mag Bot Case, in bond
£316.07 Duty & VAT paid

Gorgeous notes of red plums, currants, vanilla spice, and candied flowers all emerge from the 2014 Gran Reserva. With full-bodied richness, a rounded, layered texture, plenty of mid-palate depth, and present yet ripe tannins, this beauty does everything right and can be drunk with incredible pleasure any time over the coming 10-15 years. 2020 - 2035
96 points, Jeb Dunnuck

The nose is intense and complex. Perfumed and floral, with lots of redcurrant and floral perfume, plus overtones of orange zest and hoisin. The acidity is striking from the get-go. Tantalisingly vibrant and zesty; it brings plenty of energy. The oak is barely perceptible, whilst the tannins are supple and rounded. There's both a pepperiness and salinity so you could say it's well-seasoned. Bright and refreshing summer pudding fruits fill the mid-palate. It's irresistible now but really deserves a few more  years cellaring. Drink Now-2040+
Simon Quinn, VinQuinn


Contino was established in 1973 and was the first single estate or chateau in Rioja, where all the fruit for the wines comes from the 62 hectare estate surrounding the winery in Rioja Alavesa, north of the river Ebro. Contino has established a cult like following producing wines with a sense of place, elegance and longevity. The history of the property dates from the 16th century, and is reflected in its name. The “Contino” was the officer in charge of a guard corps of a hundred soldiers who protected the royal family "de contino” (continuously) from the times of the Catholic Monarchs onwards.

The first vintage of Contino Gran Reserva was the 1996 vintage. The Gran Reserva 2014 is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 15% Graciano, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Garnacha with all fruit coming from the estate, the wine is aged in French and American oak barrels for three years before blending and bottling and then aged in bottle for a further two years before release.  

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