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.
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
Aalto P.S. Pagos Seleccionados Tinto is made from 100 percent Tempranillo.
The farming year began with a mild autumn and little precipitation. A very dry winter started with -9ºC reaching at the end higher temperatures than normal for that time of the year. Spring and summer characterized by little rain, only some rain showers in July and late August avoided the hydric stress of the vines. The vegetative cycle of the vine developed with big variations of temperatures, alternating warm and atypical low temperatures of 4ºC for mid-June. The ripening of the grapes happened under very good conditions and the harvest started on 24th September 2019.
100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) primarily from very old vines – 60 to 90 years old – from selected plots in La Horra and La Aguilera. The harvest was done by hand, in small boxes of 15 kilos that are thoroughly inspected, bunch by bunch, on the selection table.
Color: dark cherry, Aroma: toasty, spicy, fine cocoa, black fruit, Mouth: tasty, toasty, fine bitterness, ripe tannins
Guia Penin 94 Points
Burgo Viejo Rioja Tinto is made from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha & 5% Mazuelo
Burgo Viejo Tinto comes from a careful selection of the grapes during the harvest followed by meticulous vinification to extract the highest potential of the grapes in an effort to achieve a fresh, powerful, fruit-driven young wine that will satisfy a wide range of palates.
The wine shows fresh aromas of red fruit –strawberry candy- on a very subtle background of sweet vanilla and cocoa. In mouth it is also fresh with balanced acidity, good length and absolutely velvety tannins.
Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature and malolactic fermentation in concrete vats.
Enjoy it with pasta dishes, cheese and red meat.
Early to bud and early to ripen, the 2014 vintage was our third drought year in a row. Dry, even temperatures marched the grapes along at a steady clip all year and created a wine with beautifully integrated fruit, acidity, and tannin.
Dense and dark magenta in color, this is a lithe and energetic vintage with lifted aromatics and a purity of fruit that lights up the medium-bodied tannin structure. The nose promises fresh black fruits, cherries and a touch of graphite, and the palate completely delivers. Juicy blackberry, plum, and bright cherry explode in the mouth, and develop into savory notes of baked black fruit and fresh pencil shavings on the mid-palate.
Eagle Summit Vineyard’s signature eucalyptus appears on the back palate to brighten the fruit, showing fragrant peppermint and warm, toasty spices through the finish. Whether you open it young or wait a few decades, this vintage does Howell Mountain proud--sophisticated and smart, with a rustic wild side.
Cresta Velia Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
Aged in 100% French oak (86% new)
• 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Eagle Summit Vineyard on Howell Mountain
• Equal amounts of clone 4 and clone 7
• unfined and unfiltered
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet aged 20 months in 86% new French oak, with the typical suspects in terms of cooperage – Darnajou, Taransaud, and Remond. This opaque purple-colored wine has plenty of mulberry and blackcurrant fruit along with hints of blackberries, camphor and incense. The are some notes of unsmoked cigar and licorice as well. Ripe, medium to full-bodied and luscious, it is a classic to drink over the next 15 or more years. - RP"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #228, December 2016), 90 pts
Figaro Tinto Calatayud is 100% Garnacha, made from a selection of the best grapes grown in the oldest vineyards. While not truly an "oaked wine", a short stay in oak barrels provides a nice spicy flavor boost.
Tasting notes: Bright violet. Dark berry and cherry aromas show a jammy aspect. Supple and gently sweet, with good lift to its black raspberry and boysenberry flavors. Smooth and broad on the finish, leaving behind a hint of spiciness. Extremely easy to drink and an excellent value.
The Cabernet Sauvignon Casey’s Lakeview is similarly inky bluish/purple to the rim. Tasting like blood, this wine is dense and rich with lots of chocolate, espresso, earth and spice. It is deep, full-bodied, and again, a masculine style of wine that needs at least 4-5 years of cellaring and should keep for 25 or more years.
Lakeview Vineyard is the winery’s mid-block vineyard planted to a combination of clone 6 & 337 Cabernet Sauvignon on 101-14 rootstock. Excellent drainage from the rocky and chalky soils plus plenty of sunlight throughout the day produces wines of bold character with mouth filling flavors.
Organic farming methods are used to produce this Cabernet Sauvignon Casey's Lakeview vineyard. Vines are 17 years old. Ageing in French oak barrels (85% new) for 20 months, then 12 months in bottle prior to release. Non-filtered.
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Casey's Lakeview Vineyard is the most overt of these wines. Superripe black cherry, plum, chocolate and licorice add to an impression of flamboyance that sits on the edge of being too much. The effects of the drought are felt in the wine's slightly roasted profile. - Antonio Galloni"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (December 2016), 91 pts
Benjamin Romeo Predicador Tinto is made from 96 percent Tempranillo, 2 percent Garnacha, 1 percent Graciano and 1 percent Mazuelo.
Predicador, or “Preacher,” named after Clint Eastwood’s everyman character in the 1985 film Pale Rider, is composed of 96 percent Tempranillo, 2 percent Garnacha, 1 percent Graciano and 1 percent Mazuelo. The grapes are sourced from 15 different plots within San Vicente and Briones in Rioja Alta which on average yield less than 2 kg per vine. The wine is fermented in oak and stainless steel with a two-day cold maceration and aged for sixteen months in new French oak. The wine was filtered but not fined. This vintage some La Cueva del Contador, Contador and La Vina de Andres were added for concentration and balance.
The aromatics open up with crushed red cherries, balsamic notes and the sweet baking spices of cinnamon and clove. The fruity and spicy characteristics found in the nose follow through on the palate, along with dried cranberry, black cherry and elegant fine-grained tannin supporting the tart red fruit and adding to its length and depth.
Predicador was a wine that was born as a minor wine at a very specific moment in time, and many people (including yours truly) had not quite realized it has grown into an adult, proper Rioja red. The 2014 Predicador I tasted had only been bottled for two weeks and was a little dizzy. But if you wait or can read between the lines, it's terribly perfumed and intoxicating, with penetrating aromas of macerated cherries and very decayed violets, a little decadent. The palate is silky, with superb tannins and great balance. This is among the best vintages ever released since the initial 2004.
- Wine Advocate 92 Points
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
Arzuaga Ribera del Duero Crianza 95% Tempranillo and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Dark cherry color with purple highlights. Powerful nose and high aromatic diversity of ripe red and black fruits, spicy and balsamic notes, and a roasted finish. Soft and mellow in the mouth with a great fruitiness and length.
This is a big wine with alluring aromas of cedary oak and black fruit. Ripe palate of black berries, some dark chocolate and integrated, polished oak. Long spicy finish. Classy Ribera. -Decanter 95 Points
I Brand Cabernet Franc Bayly Ranch is made from 100% Cabernet Franc.
This 100% Cabernet Franc is produced from vineyards located in Tres Pinot Creek, (along San Andreas Fault Line), at only 800 foot elevation. A great locale for Cabernet Franc to exhibit Loire-like structure overlaid with the bright fruit befitting California sunshine.
"This is a sprightly, textural, mineral-driven bottling that's immediately fascinating yet will be a joy to watch evolve. Light in the glass, it begins with aromas of cranberry, nori wrap, herb-dusted strawberry and a hint of dried blood. The palate shows a rusty edge, offering dried strawberry, crumpled oregano and a hint of green peppercorn. Drink now through 2034. - Matt KETTMANN"
- Wine Enthusiast (Septmember 1st 2021), 94 pts
Castelmaure Grande Cuvee Corbieres Rouge is made from 50% Grenache (30 year old) and 50% Syrah (30 year old)..
In the early 1990’s, Castelmaure began experimenting with a Prestige Cuvée of Corbières. This wine has become known as “Grande Cuvée” and is made with the help of the winemaking team of Tardieu-Laurent.
Vinification: destemming, pneumatic press, end of fermentation at 25 degrees C; two racking; aging in tank then in 220 Liter Bordeaux barrels for 10-12 months. Egg fining, slight filtration..
Deep and intense color, powerful aromas of dark berry fruit, prune and coffee nuances, and a persistent finish.
Vineyards: planted on 50% Schist and 50% limestone soils.
Palacio del Burgo Crianza is made from 90% Tempranillo & 10% Graciano
Palacio de Burgo's Crianza blends the concept of the intense fruity young wines traditionally made in Rioja and the old world wine making style that has made the region famous. The result is a complex wine that impresses for its intensity right from the moment it is poured in the glass.-Mike Good, Timeless Wines
Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature; aged in American oak barrels for 12 months.
Red ruby colored wine with violet tones; well-balanced, black fruit, vanilla and coconut flavors. Powerful, complex and silky smooth…classic old style Rioja at a bargain price.
Pairs well with aged cheeses and grilled meats
"A fruity and easy red with cherries, lemon rind and berries. Medium body. Drink now."
- James Suckling (August 2021), 91 pts