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Benjamin Romeo La Cueva del Contador 2014

ID No: 448049
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 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 93 95 Points
Country:United States
Region:Rioja
Winery:Contador
Grape Type:Tempranillo
Vintage:2014
Bottle Size:750 ml
Product Description

Benjamin Romeo La Cueva del Contador is made from 91% Tempranillo, 9% Garnacha.

Named after the centuries-old caves or “cuevas” carved out of the hillside below the castle of San Vicente in Sonsierra north of the Ebro, this wine is composed of 91 percent Tempranillo and 9 percent Garnacha. The fruit is sourced from eight different plots that yield about 1.2 kg per vine. Fermentation begins after a three-day cold maceration and the wine is aged for nineteen months in 100 percent new French oak and bottled without fining or filtration.

The palate offers flavors of blackberry coulis, Damson plums, Rosemary and well-integrated tannins; this wine is well balanced and youthful with a long powerful finish. Both red and black fruit are pronounced in the nose, but there are also mineral and herbal notes of gravel and lavender.

Review:

Appearance Intense garnet red dress of great luminosity and elegance. Aroma Slightly candied fruit tones, toasted from a good barrel, intense. Palate Powerful and marked on the palate, velvety, round, tasty and balanced.

Guia Repsol 95 Points

Youthful purple. A complex, oak-spiced bouquet displays ripe boysenberry and cherry, candied violet, cola and mocha scents lifted by a vibrant mineral flourish. Deeply concentrated yet lively as well, offering intense dark fruit preserve, cola and spicecake flavors that show excellent delineation and floral lift. Manages to be rich as well as lively and finishes very long and alluringly sweet, leaving allspice and vanilla notes behind.

-Vinous 93 Points

Winery: Contador

Bodega Contador began in 1995 when Benjamin Romeo, winemaker and grower, acquired a centuries-old cave carved into the rock beneath the Castle of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, located at the foot of the Sierra Cantabria mountain range in La Rioja Alta, west of Rioja Álava. In 1996, Benjamin made the first vintage of his “La Cueva del Contador” wine and started to buy vineyards for his plan to become a “bodeguero”—a wine producer. Benjamin was the winemaker at Aratadi from 1985 to 2000, where he was able to apply his skill and continue to hone his craft. In 1999, he made the first vintage of “Contador” from vineyards he acquired.

In 2000, after seeing these first wines favorably received by the market and press, Benjamin dedicated himself full time to his personal project. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate awarded 100 points to the 2004 and 2005 vintages of Contador made in his parents’ garage.

In collaboration with the architect Hector Herrera, Benjamin designed and opened a new winery in June 2008, to coincide with the summer solstice. The three floors or terraces mirror the original slopes of the site where it is located, enabling both fruit and wine to be moved by gravity.

The wines are sourced from sixty-two different plots which are organically farmed.

The wineries carries out green harvesting in May and June, and harvest in September by hand with grapes carefully placed in 14-16 kilo bins. The maximum amount of time the fruit sits in the bins is half an hour. Fermentation is temperature controlled in 10,000-litre truncated conical French oak vessels, and racking of the wine is done during a waning moon when the gravitational pull keeps the heavier particles at the bottom of the barrel allowing for greater clarity in the wine.

There is a holistic approach to the vine, so the winery uses fertilizers only in certain years with organic material composed by Bodega Contador viticulturists themselves from sheep manure. They apply herbal treatments that create an ambient environment for the vines to thrive, and treat the vines with copper sulfate when needed.

Benjamin oversees every aspect from vine to wine, including traveling to France to select the best oak trees for barrels and choosing the best-quality Spanish corks from high altitude mountain regions in Castellon, Toledo, and Gerona. As the son, grandson and great-grandson of winemakers, Benjamin uses rigorous attention to detail to produce wines of great and noble character


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Food Pairing: This wine pairs wonderfully with fine meats, roasted beef, water games, truffles and spicy stews. The bottle should be opened 1 to 3 hours before drinking. This wine needs at least 3 years cellaring before it can open up its complexity. In such case it is strongly recommended to decant before serving.

Tasting Notes: The wine‘s deep color is underscored by plummy hues. A complex nose shows deep, fruity aromas with hints of licorice and roasted coffee. Endowed with a dense and silky tannic structure, this is a full, fleshy wine that provides an ample and generous palate. Its lasting finish speaks of considerable ageing potential.


Reviews:

Deep in color, the espresso, licorice, smoke and flint, paired with layers of juicy, ripe fresh, red fruits show up with ease. On the palate, the wine offers richness, density, purity of fruit, herbs, crushed stones and a wall of ripe, lushly textured, dark red berries. This will age quite nicely.T

-Wine Cellar Insider 97 Points

Sun-baked garrigue and smoky notes of iron and earth accent intensely ripe black cherry and cassis in this wine. Made from 100% Syrah, it's a hulking powerhouse of black-fruit flavors but finessed by firm acidity and fine, integrated tannins. Stunning already it should improve through 2036 and hold further 

-Wine Enthusiast 97 Points


Bright purple. Powerful cherry, cassis, potpourri, exotic spice and olive qualities on the highly perfumed, complex nose. Sweet and energetic on the palate, offering impressively concentrated black and blue fruit preserve, floral pastille and spicecake flavors that unfold steadily with aeration. In a powerful but energetic style and quite primary now. Aeration brings up smoky bacon and floral pastille qualities that carry through the strikingly long, youthfully tannic finish, which leaves behind sweet dark and floral notes.

-Vinous 95 Points

Alluring, with warm fruitcake and black tea aromatics leading off for a lush and warm core of crushed plum, cherry reduction and blackberry pâte de fruit flavors. Despite the showy fruit detail, there's a solid iron underpinning, with pretty floral notes and bright energy throughout. Best from 2023 through 2038. 300 cases made, 188 cases imported. 

 -Wine Spectator 96 Points

Overview

This very ancient region dates back to the Roman Era and is located on the right bank of the Rhône. It is said that during the Middle Ages, “The Seigneur de Maugiron” gave a hillside to each of his two daughters - one was brunette and the other fair - thus, were born the names of “Côte Brune” and “Côte Blonde.” Wines from the Côte Blonde tend to be more delicate and lighter in character than the fuller wines of the Côte Brune. Together, they make a wine of style and substance. This cuvée is a vineyard plot selection. The grapes come exclusively from a plot within the named slope of “La Landonne.”

This cuvée‘s first vintage was 1997. The wine is only made in the very best years. Its highly limited production never exceeds 2,500 bottles per year.


Winemaking

The steep, terraced hillsides along the river produce wines that are among the "biggest" reds of France. The Delas Côte-Rôtie is primarily Syrah with an addition of up to 10 to 20% of Viognier grapes in the crop. The soils of the northern part of the Côte Brune vineyard consists of extremely steep, terraced slopes of ferruginous mica schists which are covered with schist sand (arzel). The Côte Blonde has a varied geology with gneiss and granite predominating at the most southern side of the appellation. The area has dry, hot summers with regular rainfalls during other seasons. The grapes for the “La Landonne” cuvée are picked by hand at maximum maturity. Fermentation takes place in traditional open-topped concrete tanks, following three days of pre-fermentation cold maceration. Before fermentation, the maceration process continues under controlled temperatures of 82°F to 86°F. Daily cap pushing down and pumping over are carried out for about 10 days with total vatting time of up to 20 days. The wine is aged for 14 to 16 months in new or one year old oak casks. The barrels are topped up regularly.


Tasting Notes

The wine‘s deep color is underscored by plummy hues. A complex nose shows deep, fruity aromas with hints of licorice and roasted coffee. Endowed with a dense and silky tannic structure, this is a full, fleshy wine that provides an ample and generous palate. Its lasting finish speaks of considerable ageing potential.


Food Pairing

This wine pairs wonderfully with fine meats, roasted beef, water games, truffles and spicy stews. The bottle should be opened 1 to 3 hours before drinking. This wine needs at least 3 years cellaring before it can open up its complexity. In such case it is strongly recommended to decant before serving.

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 95 Wine Enthusiast: 97 Wine Spectator: 96 97 Points
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Review:

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