Someone quite well known to you here took us through a selection of his wines in London last night. I thought I'd post the notes here although you are probably quite familiar with these wines. Those of you who have met him will know what a truly lovely guy Jesús is.
It was a pleasure to taste with him.
CONTINO RESERVA 2005
Tempranillo 85% Graciano 10% Mazuelo 3% Garnacha 2%
French and American oak.
Deep red core with a pink robe. Rasberry on the nose. Quite floral. In the mouth
it is fresh and lively. Predominantly red fruits. Very easy to drink right now,
quite light and fruity. I’d expect this to put on some weight but delicious right now.
CONTINO RESERVA 1974
Tempranillo 85% Mazuelo 8% Garnacha 5% Viura 2%
Wow. First thought is how similar this is to those lovely 1970’s Viña Reals.
Rose petals. Hint of camphor. A Burgundian elegance to it. Completely evolved.
Harmonious, light and delicate.
This was a little taste of history as it was the first vintage of Contino.
If one could only drink this everyday!
This was a real treat.
CONTINO GRAN RESERVA 1996
On the nose this is not unlike the ‘74 Reserva but not as delicate (yet?).
Secondary development, a hint of caramel but mainly a nice leathery aroma
with the fruit still present in the background. Nicely evolved.
Incredibly smooth on the palate. Very much in balance and a gorgeous drink.
I thought this was excellent.
Jesús Madrazo bottles these Gran Reservas only in very good years and only in magnums.
CONTINO GRAN RESERVA 2004
Tempranillo 70% 15% Graciano 10% Garnacha 5% Mazuelo
Purple colour. Quite full on. Good deal of oak on the nose along with
classic tempranillo fruit. Nice mouthfeel but a touch hot. A good ripe vintage
but a little off balance for me right now, needs to settle down I guess.
Considering the track record of this wine I’m more than happy to give this
the benefit of the doubt. Interesting to try it in a decade.
CONTINO VINA DEL OLIVO 2005
Tempranillo 90% Graciano10%
This wine is fermented in large French oak vats. Malolactic fermentation takes place
in new French oak barrels and the wine is subsequently aged in French, American
and Hungarian oak casks. So yes it sees a fair bit of wood! While the Gran reservas
may be made to recall the Rioja of old this is undoubtedly modern.
Ripe upfront fruit from a single vineyard around a 1000 year old oak tree that gives
the wine its name (and a seperate plot of Graciano) and toasty oak flavours dominate.
This is full rich and sexy.
In the mouth it has a velvet texture and while there is a touch of heat
it is balanced because there is lovely ripe fruit. Traditionalists will not like it
but for me this is good modern Spanish wine that has the stuffing to age and it
will be very interesting to see what this is like in another decade or more.
All the 05’s were excellent it seems to be a very successful year for Contino.
CONTINO VINO DEL OLIVO 2001
Tempranillo 90% Graciano 10%
Similar to the 05 and also young. Deep cherry red colour. On the first whiff
I was reminded of a Mauro Vendimia Seleccionada. Notes of liquorice
and mint on the nose. In the mouth this is full and rich, a big wine. Modern style
but for my palate not overdone but I know others who might find this too much.
This is very good now but is built to last.
CONTINO GRACIANO 1995
Deep red lighter at the rim. Hint of smoke on the nose. Fresh and vibrant
on the palate. Mainly red fruits. Can’t believe it’s this old. Very fresh
for it’s age. Good acidity seems to have years of ageing ahead of it.
I have little experience of Graciano and very few bodegas bottle it as a
single variety. This was a very interesting wine and one I’d like to try again
on its own not after so many Tempranillo wines.
CONTINO GRACIANO 2006
Deep red colour. Smoke on the nose reminds me of northern Rhone syrah a little.
Vibrant and lively on the palate. Very young, found this hard to evaluate
after the tempranillos. Seems like these are built to age. Perhaps with time
they gain some complexity and loose that exhuberance.
When wine is well made labels like 'traditional' and 'modern' don't really matter to me. I happen to like both styles. I'm sure for some the Contino is too modern. But to his credit Jesús Madrazo
is trying to ensure the survival of both styles. I wish he would bottle more Gran Reservas in 75cl as I'm sure there would be a market for it. I wish more bodegas would follow his lead.
He is a sincere and friendly guy and it was a pleasure to taste through his range of wines with him.
Congratulations for this tasting.
Contino it's a familiar wine to me but I have never opened a 1974...
Thanks for the tasting notes - now I only have to wait for 10 or more years to try my Continos from 1999 , 2003, 2004 and 2005.
It is not easy to improve on a good Contino tasting, but having Jésus Madrazo is one sure way to do so. Glad you had this opportunity, Ray.
Indeed it was great to have him with us.
Good to see you here.
Sorry I've been too busy to post, but I've not stopped drinking! Last night we had a blind tasting of 12 wines from the 2000 vintage, nine from Spain. Despite the inclusiion of a highly rated BDX and a Contino Reserva, a preview bottle of the 2000 Unico was my favorite.
Slumming it I see ;-)