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Contino Rioja Reserva 2018  - First Bottle


95 Wine Enthusiast -
This deep-ruby-colored wine has a bouquet of black cherry, clove and butterscotch. It is surprisingly soft on the palate, with filigree tannins and flavors of ripe summer cherry, blackberry, milk chocolate, fennel bulb and violet.
95 James Suckling -
Black cherries with cedar and dried flowers, as well as dusty earth. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm tannins that are long and polished. Lots of structure. Very typical and focused. Drinkable now, but better in 2024.
94 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate -
I tasted two vintages of the estate red that represents the blend and the character of the place. The 2018 Reserva comes from a cooler year and is a blend of 86% Tempranillo, 6% Mazuelo, 6% Graciano and 2% Garnacha with 14.12% alcohol and a pH of 3.48. The grapes ripened thoroughly and the wine is tasty but has a vibrant palate with freshness and depth. It has a classical nose and is complex and spicy with an earthy touch, a little developed and with fine-grained tannins. Very tasty. It spent 18 months in oak barrels, 90% of them French and 10% American; they are reducing the amount of American oak in this wine. 290,998 bottles and 3,500 magnums produced. It was bottled in June 2021.
91 Wine Spectator -
A medium-bodied red, round and creamy, with supple tannins and citrusy acidity providing definition for appealing flavors of pureed black cherry and boysenberry fruit. Offers accents of mocha, violet and star anise, with savory hints of tobacco and mineral showing on the finish. Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano. Drink now through 2028. 2,400 cases made, 800 cases imported.
91 Decanter -
Contino is a producer of fine Rioja and this Reserva combines a soft and silky mouthfeel, flavours of red fruits and cream, and textured, grainy tannins. Towards the finish it reveals its woody character along with warming strawberry and raspberry fruits. Great balance.

Technical Details

  • Blend10% Graciano2.5% Mazuelo85% Tempranillo
  • WinemakerJorge Navascués
  • CountrySpain
  • RegionRioja
  • AppellationRioja
  • Alcohol0.14%

Contino Rioja Reserva 2018

Proprietary Blends  |  Spain
WE95, JS95, WA94, WS91, DC91

49% off retail!

This Rioja is the OG...the very first single-vineyard Rioja was produced here back in 1973. Five decades later, this remains one of Rioja’s top houses – where modern winemaking melds with centuries of tradition. At over 49% OFF, this is a force to be reckoned with – and perfect for your España collection! We’re the best price in the entire country by country mile on this beauty...but be warned! Only about 10 cases to go around!

With the estate’s history extending back to cellar caves from the 16th century, Contino has long been a part of the illustrious traditions of great wines in the Rioja. Named for the guards that continuously watched over the Spanish Catholic Monarchy, Contino is revered for their terrifically complex and layered wines, with polished and seductive textures. This 2018 is all that and more. A composition of 86% tempranillo, 6% graciano, 6% of mazuelo, and 2% garnacha, the wine is an elegantly pure and luscious Rioja with red raspberry, black cherry, and mulberry, plus mocha and sun-baked earth, accented with exotic spice notes like star anise and cedar. Lingering elements of smoked beef, black trumpet mushrooms, and Madagascar vanilla illuminate the complex backdrop of a sumptuous wine that casually slides into a luxuriously smooth finish.

Hand-picked on the estate, then de-stemmed and cold-soaked for 48 hours before fermentation with native yeasts in stainless steel and concrete tanks. The wine continued with a post-fermentation maceration, continuously pumping over daily until racking into barrel. New for the 2018 is the estate’s focus on a greater percentage of French oak, over the traditionally preferred American oak. They have been slowly making this shift over the past few years, but this vintage is a sizeable leap – with 90% French and only 10% American. There is a softness and approachability that coincides – granting a powerful and imposing Rioja a greater opportunity to consume young – without sacrificing the overall ageability.

No Rioja collection is complete without Contino, and at our remarkable, best-in-the-U.S. price – this is simply not to be missed!

PAIRING IDEAS: Years ago, while traveling in the south of Spain, I stumbled across a remote village where an old woman served food to guests straight from her kitchen and her son would pour wine and tell stories. I had a simple Andaluscian Chorizo and Chickpea Stew that blew my mind. Perfect with this.

About the Producer

Contino, the first Rioja chateau 1973, impelled by CVNE and the owners of the 62-hectare property located in the Rioja Alavesa. The history of the property dates from the 16th century and is reflected in its name. The 'contino' was the officer in charge of a guard corps of a hundred soldiers who protected the royal family 'de contino' (continuously) from the times of the Catholic Monarchs onwards. According to the tradition, Saint Gregory, the patron saint of vineyards, passed through the lands of this same Rioja property, giving rise to the use of his figure in the logo of this winery, and to the use of his name for some of the plots now planted with vines. The wine produced on this property, fruity and elegant, is heir to the best Rioja tradition. It is made with an individualized grape harvesting system in which only grapes from the same vineyards that surround the old manor house are used. Their origin in the various plots is noted. The perfect combination of soils, Atlantic-Mediterranean climate and refined technique have made Contino, more than 30 years after the first vintage, a reference product both in and outside Spain. The 62 hectares of Laserna vineyards in Laguardia are protected by the hill called the Cerro de la Mesa, which gives this land a characteristic orientation and mesoclimate. The hand-cut grapes are transported along a short road to the outbuildings so as to avoid damaging their qualities.