Rioja’s regulatory body has just approved the creation of a classification for a new Single Vineyard (viñedos singulares) which will enable winemakers to state the origin of their wines and to emphasize quality over quantity. However, from its inception, Contino has led the way of quality, producing single-estate wines since 1974. Today Contino is considered the pinnacle of Rioja, its bottlings always universally garnering the top notes.
Viñedos del Contino was created by CVNE in 1978, establishing the “château” concept in the Rioja region. The quality of the vineyards was so incredible that they were previously solely used for Viña Real Gran Reserva. The estate is rooted in an ancestral farmhouse which was lovingly restored and updated by CVNE’s Urrutia family, who have spare no expense in constructing a state-of-the-art winery. The wines are made exclusively from the stocks planted on its 152 acres located inside a bend in the Ebro River in Laserna, near the town of Laguardia in the Rioja Alavesa region.
But the most important element to Contino’s success is the range of impressive bottlings complementing the original Contino Reserva cuvée. These include a 100% varietal Graciano, the Viña del Olivo and the Rioja Blanco. The only wine made every year is the Reserva, the other wines are exclusively made in exceptional years. All of the work is done manually, without herbicides or pesticides. Fermentation is on native yeasts or from native strains that were identified in the early 1990s. Fermentation and aging is done in neutral 500L botte or 225L barriques for the top cuvées. After benefiting from the talents of winemaker Jesús Madrazo, who was part of the family and saved Graciano from oblivion, Contino is now in the hands of Jorge Navascués, an expert in Garnacha.