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 Reserva is made from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha & 5% Carignan.
Burgo Viejo Rioja Reserva presents with red ruby color; black pepper and vanilla flavors and some mature black fruit taste too. Well-balanced, well-structured and elegant in mouth displaying some splendid taste of fruit and bouquet too.
Burgo Viejo Reserva Wine vinification has occurred blending different grape varieties to produce an aged wine that will surely keep maturity and fullness from the vineyard until the very moment of uncorking.
VINIFICATION: Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature; aged in American and French oak barrels -50% each- for 18 months.
Enjoy it with red meat and game.
"Sweet, ripe, plummy nose followed by notes of rosemary and thyme. Enlivening wine with a long and complex aftertaste." Decanter 90 Points
"(raised in a 50/50 combination of new and used French and American oak barrels for 18 months) Vivid ruby-red. An expansive, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe black and blue fruits, cola, incense and toasty oak, with a sexy floral overtone. Silky and broad on the palate, offering concentrated black raspberry, cherry-vanilla and coconut flavors that become spicier with aeration. In an emphatically fruity style, showing solid closing thrust, strong persistence and gently gripping tannins. - Josh Raynolds"
- Antionio Galloni's Vinous (February 2019), 91 pts
"A small step up in price, the 2014 Reserva (85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo) has a similar elegance and purity, with classic vanilla-laced notes of spice, garrigue, cedar, and both cherry and darker currant-like fruits. It’s balanced, has fine tannins, and is an outstanding wine. I like it today, but I suspect it’s capable of keeping for a decade."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 2019), 90 pts
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.
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.
Chakana Estate Malbec is made from 100 percent Malbec.
hakana is the name of the Southern Cross constellation. Its rotation in the sky throughout the year made it an effective agricultural calendar for the ancient Andean people.
The "yaguarete" (jaguar) on the label was known by the ancient Andean people as the "lord of the starred night"; the wildest known animal.
Chakana Estate Malbec is from Chakana's Altamira (3,200 ft elevation) and Gualtallary (5,500 ft elevation) vineyards.
The color is deep purple, very intense, typical of Malbec. Plum, brambly berries, spices and an iris/violet note are apparent on the nose. Intense, fruity flavors with velvety tannins.
"The 2019 Malbec Estate Selection is a combination of grapes from different GIs in the Uco Valley (55% Altamira, 25% Gualtallary and 20% Los Chacayes,) of which 70% is aged in used French barrels. A vivid violet in color. The nose offers precise and attractive notes of fresh, sour cherry and plum with expressive hints of lavender, violet and thyme. The ripeness of the grapes in each region was judged perfectly for the style. In the mouth, it is a compendium of flavors gently marshalled by fine, reactive tannins and a chalky texture that ensures good performance in the bottle. With juicy, well-integrated freshness and fruity flavor at the back of the mouth, this is a wine that has you reaching for another glass. An accomplished take on an Uco Valley Malbec. - Joaquín Hidalgo"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (November 2021), 94 pts
Verite La Joie Red is made from 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc,5% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec.
The 2018 La Joie displays a brilliant violet core with a thin rim of bright ruby. Generous fruit-for- ward aromas of ripe black currant and black cherry are followed by earthy notes of fresh conifer, dried mushroom, black olive, dusty clay, anise and clove. The palate is rich and structured; possessing similar flavors of the nose, refined tannins, well-balanced acidity and a complex, luscious finish.
Blackberries, black mushrooms, violets, flowers, and dark tobacco. Black truffle, too. Full-bodied, yet in check and pretty. The fine tannins frame the wine perfectly. Really long and focused. Seamless. Elegance with power. This will age incredibly well, but already so gorgeous to try. 76% cabernet sauvignon, 9% merlot, 7% cabernet franc, 5% petit verdot and 3% malbec. Try after 2026, but attractive now.
-James Suckling 99 Points
Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot Toscana IGT is made from Merlot.
Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot has an explosive olfactory impact. The wide aromatic bouquet ranges from cherry and plum jam to notes of black tea, rhubarb and graphite, with small final notes of fermented tobacco. The entrance is bursting. The palate is invested by the imposing and typical structure of Tuscan Merlot, enveloping and warm. Tastefully in symbiosis with the olfactory notes, the dense and linear tannin accompanies hints of coconut and black pepper in retrolfaction.
James Suckling 94 Points