Benjamin Romeo's winemaking credentials include over 15 years as head winemaker at Bodegas Artadi, one of Rioja's greatest producers, and two 100 point scores for his 2004 and 2005 Contador"
Benjamin Romeo Contador 2008
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Benjamin Romeo was the winemaker at the iconic Rioja winery Artadi. After 15 years there, he started Contador, his own personal project, also in the Rioja Alavesa. There he very quickly received international recognition when his 2004 vintage Contador Cuvee was awarded 100 points from The Wine Advocate. Benjamin Romeo's Contador is one of only two Spanish wines ever to receive consecutive 100 point ratings from Robert Parker. The only other wine to achieve a perfect rating is another Eric Solomon Selection, Clos Erasmus, made by Daphne Glorian. Benjamin Romeo's bodega (warehouse) is located at the foot of a clock tower, pictured on the label for Contador.
Contador 2008 is bright and deep garnet in color. Very ripe red and black fruit on the nose overlaid with mineral and herbal touches reminiscent of aromatic plants which live alongside the vines in our most select vineyards. Notes of high quality wood and dark burnt caramel. Full and smooth in the mouth at first. This is followed by a good level of tannin and a refined mouth-watering freshness. The finish is long and pleasant.
Blend: 86% Tempranillo, 14% Garnacha
Age of Vines 60-100 years
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 Contador, rapidly becoming one of Rioja’s benchmark wines, is composed of 86% Tempranillo and 14% Garnacha aged for 18 months in new French oak. It is a glass-coating opaque purple color with an exceptional bouquet of sandalwood exotic spices, lavender, incense, espresso, tapenade, and blackberry. Dense and mouth-coating, it deftly combines elegance and power in a structured wine that will easily achieve its 20th birthday and well beyond.
International Wine Cellar - "(86% tempranillo and 14% garnacha): Inky violet color. Powerful, brooding aromas of black and blue fruits, violet, dark chocolate and anise. Dense, chewy and sweet, with strong dark berry and cherry compote flavors and an exotic floral quality that gains strength with air. Shows serious concentration and extract and finishes sappy and very long. This big boy demands patience. "
Benjamin Romeo Winery
Benjamin Romeo was the winemaker at the iconic Rioja winery Artadi. After 15 years there, he started Contador, his own personal project, also in the Rioja Alavesa. There he very quickly received international recognition when his 2004 vintage Contador Cuvee was awarded 100 points from The Wine Advocate. View all Benjamin Romeo Wines
About Rioja(ree-OH-hah) Spain makes some of the best Tempranillo-based wines in the world. Once the only DOCa (recently joined by Priorat in 2001), Rioja is divided into 3 sub-regions: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa. There are 4 red varieties and 3 white varieties allowed in the Rioja DOC. Tempranillo definitely takes center stage, followed by Garnacha (Grenache)), which is sometimes added for body, then Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan). The region also makes roses. For whites, the main grape is Viura (or Macebo), producing fresh, early-drinking wines. Malvasia, the grape that was once the most planted white, is found less often.
Notable FactsThe Rioja wine trade is somewhat confusing. Grapes are typically brought to a merchant's bodega from one of the 20,000+ growers in the region, or via a cooperative. The wine is then bottled and labelled by that bodega. Rioja's Consejo Regulador keeps track of all vineyards and bodegas to make sure they are following the DOCa regulations. Put in place to ensure quality, the system also controls prices.
As with the rest of Spain, the wine label may state Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, depending on barrel & bottle maturation. Crianzas are usually found within two years of the vintage and offer fresh, ripe wines. Reserva and Gran Reserva will be found a few years after the vintage, as the bodega will be aging the wines in barrel and bottle before release. Both typically show more secondary characteristics of spice and oak ageing.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.