Red wine Barrel Respectful agriculture. 15 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Contador. Production area: D.O.Ca. Rioja. Grapes used in this wine: Garnacha Tinta and Tempranillo.
White wine Barrel Non certified organic. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Contador. Production area: D.O.Ca. Rioja. Grapes used in this wine: Viura.
Red wine Barrel Non certified organic. 18 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Contador. Production area: D.O.Ca. Rioja. Grapes used in this wine: Mazuela and Graciano and Tempranillo.
Red wine Barrel Non certified organic. 18 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Contador. Production area: D.O.Ca. Rioja. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.
Red wine Carbonic maceration Non certified organic. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Contador. Production area: D.O.Ca. Rioja. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.
White wine Aged on its lees Non certified organic. 8 months on lees in the barrel. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Contador. Production area: D.O.Ca. Rioja. Grapes used in this wine: Garnacha Blanca and Viura and Malvasía.
Red wine Barrel Non certified organic. 15 months in French oak barrels. Volume: Magnum Winery: Contador. Production area: D.O.Ca. Rioja. Grapes used in this wine: Mazuela and Tempranillo.
D.O.: D.O.Ca. Rioja
The beginnings of this exemplary winery date back to 1995, when oenologist and winegrower Benjamín Romeo, who worked as an oenologist of Artadi until 2000, acquired a century-old cave under the castle of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, his hometown. A cave with more than eight centuries of history, located in the mountain, just below the clock tower of the imposing castle. His idea was to rescue the way his ancestors produced. They kept the wine in caves so that it was maintained at a stable temperature all year round. Currently, the cave houses the barrels of Carmen, a gran reserva of very low production, produced in honour of his mother. It also serves as a graveyard of bottles for the private collection of historical vintages of Contador wines. The name Contador, given to both the winery and its two wines, is due to the fact that at the entrance to the cave there is a room that was used by the "counter" ("contador" in Spanish) to count the wineskins full of wine that they sold.
There, the first harvest of his wine "La Cueva del Contador" was carried out in 1991, and he began to buy vineyards for his own winemaking project. During the following years he carries out vinifications at a small scale in the cave, and he continued buying vines, until in 1999 he made the first vintage of his wine Contador.
In 2000, after seeing the good acceptance of the market and specialised media towards these first wines, Benjamin decided to become exclusively dedicated to his personal project. He prepared his parents' garage, in San Vicente, to make wine, increasing the capacity of vinification he offered in the cave. The surprise came when the review of the American critic Robert Parker gave the maximum award of 100 points to the 2004 and 2005 Contador harvests, both produced in that garage. This recognition, unknown of in Spain, boosts the international prestige of the brand.
History of the winery
Between 2004 and 2006, Benjamín Romeo started the project of his current winery alongside architect Héctor Herrera. The work begins in 2006, and the winery was opened for the first time on 21 June 2008. The building, with 2,700 square metres and a capacity for 150,000 bottles, is located at the foot of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, in the centre of the territory occupied by the different vineyards of the property. From the beginning, Benjamin wanted to have the winery facing the north-west, in the same way as the ancient caves and underground caves of San Vicente de la Sonsierra. This way, after noon the winery has its back turned to the sun, which allows it to keep a stable temperature of 14ºC throughout the year. The structure of the winery is divided into three floors, and is situated on the original slopes of the terrain, which facilitates the handling of grapes and wine by gravity. The winery has exposed concrete walls, so that it gets impregnated with dust and ends up blending in with the land from which it was born. The terraces of the building have more than one metre of soil, to keep a stable temperature. They are also covered with Thyme plants that are integrated with local vegetation.
Currently, Bodega Contador has 20 hectares of its own vineyard, between 45 and 100 years old, distributed in 50 plots. They are planted with Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Grenache, White Grenache, Viura and Malvoisie.
They market 75% of their wines in the international market, and the remaining 25% in Spain. Patxi Fernández has been with Benjamin since the beginning; they are childhood friends. He runs the commercial operations of the winery all around the world.
The key of the work carried out in Bodega Contador is the careful attention they pay to detail in all stages of the production process, personally supervised by Benjamín Romeo. From the care of the vineyard soils, to the design of the labels. However, the purchase of vineyards and plots that are suitable for vine cultivation Benjamín's passion. Therefore, the winery currently has more than fifty plots with different soils, microclimates, orientations, altitudes, varieties and clones, which allow him to obtain wines of great complexity.
Most of the vines are trained in vase-shape, and the pruning method is the one traditionally used in La Rioja. The winegrowers from Bodega Contador leave only a single bud per spur, to limit production and boost the quality of the grape.
On the other hand, the soil is tilled an average of six times a year, between the pruning and the ripening of the grape, depending on the circumstances of each season. Tilling includes several tasks, among which we can find some that are specific to viticulture, such as chopping the shoots. The land is only fertilised in some years, and always using organic matter made by the winegrower of the winery themselves. They use sheep manure, so all the work in the vineyards is organic, respectful and honest.
Between May and July several green pruning and crop thinning tasks are carried out. In August, the first and second flowering bunches are removed, and in September a first harvest is carried out.
Harvesting is performed manually by experienced harvesters, and the grapes are transported to the winery in 14-kg boxes, within a maximum period of half an hour. Once in the winery they perform a manual selection of bunches, and after destemming, a manual selection of berries. The berries that pass the selection process are raised to the mouth of the fermentation deposits in small containers. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in French oak barrels with a capacity for 10,000 litres. Both the emptying of the deposits and the filling of the barrels is also carried out by gravity. The wine performs the malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels, so the winery works exclusively with France's ten most prestigious cooperages, and with top-range barrels from each of these cooperages. To do so, Benjamín Romeo travels to France to personally select the best oaks. During the ageing the carry out several rackings, as well as weekly toppings to compensate decreases. This is carried out in a room with a moderate degree of humidity (65%) for health and hygiene reasons. All wine activities are performed taking into account the moon cycles.
The caps are made with cork from different Spanish mountain ranges (Castellón, Toledo, Girona, etc.). Benjamín Romeo also personally selects the forests of these mountain ranges and the cork trees that will be used in the winery.
Wines from Bodegas Contador
We are now presenting you with wines from Contador that you can find at Decántalo.
Contador is made with an average of 92% Tempranillo, 4% Graciano and 4% Mazuelo, from different plots in San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Ábalos. It ferments in oak vats and is aged for 19 months in new barrels made of 100% French oak. Its production is of around 6,000 bottles. On the nose it is sublime, with a compendium of aromas of very ripe black fruit, fine and delicate spices and balsamic notes. In the mouth it has an excellent creamy feeling, of sweet and refined texture, persistent and with a long and very elegant finish.
La Viña de Andrés Romeo comes from a single farm of Tempranillo, La Liende, in San Vicente de la Sonsierra, with calcareous-alluvium soils. It ferments in oak vats and is aged for 19 months in new French oak barrels. On the nose it is intense, clean, honest, with aromas of very ripe red and black fruit, and woods that are very well integrated on a mineral background. In the mouth it is loaded with unctuousness and sweetness, with great volume, a sweet tannin and an extremely amiable finish.
La Cueva del Contador is made with Tempranillo from the plots of La Canoca, La Liende, Guiasol, El Bombón, Burdarán, El Llano, El Sauco, Ábalos, San Francisco, La Rad, Tasugueras, La Tejera, all in the municipalities of San Vicente and Ábalos. It ferments in oak vats and is aged for 18 months in new barrels made of 100% French oak.
Predicador. This interesting name was chosen by Benjamin in memory of the character portrayed by Clint Eastwood in "Pale Rider". In fact, the label is the character's hat, and they even have a poster in the tasting room and in the winery. It is made with an average of 96% Tempranillo, 2% Grenache, 1% Graciano and 1% Mazuelo, from plots located in San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Briones. It ferments in oak vats and stainless steel deposits, and it is aged for 16 months in single-use barrels made of 100% French oak. Its production is of around 130.000 bottles. On the nose, red and black fruits with spicy notes and fine woods stand out, while in the mouth it is amiable, voluminous, fresh, full of fruity sensations, with a balanced acidity and a sweet tannin that gives it power and persistence.
A Mi Manera is made with 94% Tempranillo and 6% Grenache, from La Liende, La Raicilla, Las Llanas, San Pablo and Los Corrales, all located in San Vicente de la Sonsierra. It is a young wine, produced partly with carbonic maceration. It ferments in oak wood.
Carmen Gran Reserva is a wine made in honour of Benjamín's mother. It is made with 80% Tempranillo, 15% Grenache and 5% Graciano, from La Canoca, Ariaisabel, El Sacramento and Pangua, located in San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Briones. It ferments in oak vats. Then, it is aged for 24 in second and third-use barrels made of 100% French oak, and 36 months in the bottle. Its production is of around 4,000 bottles.
Qué Bonito Cacareaba is a white wine made with 52% White Grenache, 35% Viura and 13% Malvoisie, from the municipalities of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Leza and Briones. It ferments in barrels and is aged for 8 months in new barrels made of 100% French oak.
Predicador Blanco is made from 45% Viura, 39% White Grenache and 16% Malvoisie, from the municipalities of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Leza and Briones. It ferments in barrels and is aged for 8 months, 30% in new French oak barrels and 70% in one-use barrels.
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