Wine Advocate 91 points - The 2001 La Cueva del Contador has an intriguing bouquet with blackberry, Italian cured meat, chalk and Morello: halfway between primary and secondary aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and a palpable “juicy” core of blueberry and cassis fruit that appears to have barely aged. It is fresh and vibrant, almost Graves-like on the finish, with hints of black olive on the aftertaste. This still has a decade ahead of it, possibly more. Drink now-2020. (Aug 2012)
The 2001 La Cueva del Contador (100% Tempranillo) was aged in French oak prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Its deep ruby/purple color is accompanied by a rich perfume of berry fruit, spice box, new saddle leather, cigar smoke, and earth. Medium to full-bodied, rich, and concentrated, it may be slightly too muscular and extracted for its own good, but it is impressively pure, rich, and, hopefully, loaded with potential. The tannin needs to become better integrated, so give it 2-3 more years of cellaring, and drink it over the following 10-12 years.
|- The Bodega Contador story starts in 1995 when Benjamin Romeo, winemaker and vine-grower, acquired a centuries old cave hewn into the rock beneath the Castle of San Vicente de la Sonsierra (Rioja). In 1996 he 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.
- In the following years he carried out small scale vinifications in the cave and continued to acquire vineyards. In 1999 he made the first vintage of “Contador”.
- Seeing these first wines favourably received by the market and specialist press, in 2000 Benjamin decided to dedicate himself full time to his personal project.
- Throughout 2001 Benjamin Romeo reconditioned and equipped the garage at his parents’ home in San Vicente for winemaking, thereby increasing the vinification capacity over what was possible in the cave.
- The North American wine critic Robert Parker’s Review awarded maximum points (100) to the 2004 and 2005 vintages of Contador, made in the garage. This accolade, hitherto unknown in Spain, hugely increased the label’s international prestige.
- From 2004 to 2006, Benjamin Romeo and the architect Hector Herrera worked together on the design of his winery, which was built in 2006-8.
- The new winery (bodega) was opened on 21 June 2008, coinciding with the summer solstice. The building sits at the foot of the village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, in the centre of the area where the various Bodega Contador vineyards are located.
- The three floors or terraces of the winery mirror the original slopes of the site where it is located, at the same time enabling both fruit and wine to be moved by gravity.
- The building’s terraces are covered with plants that blend in with the local vegetation. The winery has exposed concrete walls so that gradually they become coated with dust and end up melding with the earth from which they came.