One of the epic stars of Rioja, Benjamin Romeo worked as winemaker at Artadi between 1985 and 2000, before starting his Contador project. Situated in and around San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Benjamin has 7 hectares, half devoted to La Vina de Andres, and the other half divided between 20 plots averaging 130 square feet with vines up to 100 years old.
His wines have gained international acclaim. I would describe his winemaking style as modern, with old world elegance — almost like Opus One which is obviously a new world wine shows refinement and elegance.
Across the board, Romeo hits a home run with his new release wines. A tremendous value Rioja Blanco, the 2015 Bodega Contador ‘Predicator’ Rioja Blanco (WWB, 92) has tremendous poise and texture. This wine is sure to give drinking pleasure for a decade or possibly more. Do not miss the insanely good 2010 Bodega Contador ‘Carmen’ Gran Reserva Rioja (WWB, 94) which is a silky and dense effort that will cellar marvelously for a decade or more. Learn more about these very special wines at http://bodegacontador.com Here are the fantastic new wines by Bodega Contador.
2014 Bodega Contador ‘Predicator’ Rioja- This great wine is a combination of 96% Tempranillo with a touch of Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo which was aged for 16 months in French oak. Benjamin Romeo has crafted an outstanding value Rioja here that is a great sense of place and elegance. Densely colored, this wine opens with a bouquet of prune, dark cherry and cigar box. The mid-palate weight is excellent. Pipe tobacco, black olive, brandied cherry and Asian spice flavors impress, leading to the long, mineral driven finish. Drink 2017-2026-91
2015 Bodega Contador ‘Predicator’ Rioja Blanco- This outstanding bottling is a blend of Viura, Garnacha and Malvasia which was aged in 30% new French oak for 8 months prior to bottling. This Rioja Blanco begins with aromatics of butter, macadamia nut and green papaya. Bright, dense and downright delicious, this delivers a wonderful viscosity and texture. Cantaloupe, beeswax, butter and brioche flavors entice. The richness makes this particularly hard to resist. Drink 2017-2026- 92
2014 Bodega Contador ‘Que Bonito Cacareaba’ White Wine- Named after a Spanish rooster, this wine is a highly compelling blend of wine is composed of 50% Garnacha Blanca, 35% Malvasía, and 15% Viura sourced from head-trained vines gown in a mix of alluvial and calcareous soil from the municipalities of San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Briones with Rioja Alta. The three different grape varieties, harvested at different dates according to ripeness, come from the Leza, Ariasabal, Murmurón, El Sauco, El Bombón y Las and Tasugueras Vineyards. The wine was aged in 225 L New French oak barrels for eight months of lees aging and battonage. This wine opens with bright aromas of lemongrass, lychee, nectarine and star jasmine. The nose is highly compelling and constantly brings you back to the glass for more. The texture is unctuous as the silky wine glides along the mid-palate. Orange rind, Meyer lemon, Gravenstein apple pie and white rose flavors come to mind. This is an absolutely stunning bottling by the talented hands of Benjamin Romeo. Drink 2017-2028- 94
2010 Bodega Contador ‘Carmen’ Gran Reserva Rioja- Dedicated to Romeo’s grandmother, Carmen, the wine is a combination of Tempranillo (82%), Garnacha (10%), Graciano (4%) and Mazuelo (4%). This ‘Gran Reserva’ was aged for 36 months in new French oak prior to bottling. The wine begins with aromatics of rose petals, red cherry and red raspberry with cran-pomegranate. Plush, silky and downright delicious, this wine delivers black plum, black currant, wild blackberry cobbler and Turkish coffee flavors that sit alongside some stunning mineraltity. Drink 2017-2030- 94
2013 Bodega Contador ‘La Cueva Del Contador’ Rioja- This great Rioja wine was sourced from the El Bombom, El Sauco, El Bardallo, San Pablo, La Liende, Ariasabel, La Rad and La Raicilla Vineyards. The resultant wine is a blend of 91% Tempranillo and 9% Garnacha which spent 19 months in French oak prior to bottling. Coming from a challenging vintage this wine opens with a bouquet of red cherry, black raspberry and orange rind with cigar box accents. Silky and well-designed, the wine shows a wonderful pillowy texture. Black cherry compote, coffee grounds, crushed mint and tar flavors impress. This is a scintillating effort from a tough vintage. Be sure to give this at least an hour decant if enjoying young. Drink 2017-2030- 93