We are delighted to offer the newly released 2020 Viña del Olivo, from Rioja Contino, at £325 per six bottles in bond, with 98 points, from James Suckling.
Contino is one of Rioja's most historic bodegas, established in the 16th century by one of the King of Spain's 100-strong body guard, who 'continually' guarded his person (hence the name). CVNE made their first wine at the Contino estate in 1973, making this the first 'château' or single estate wine in Rioja, a region where the bodegas often buy their grapes from across the region.
Viña del Olivo is a single vineyard wine, first planted 700 years ago, in Contino's San Rafael estate, next to an ancient olive tree that gives the wine its name. This is one of the few calcareous clay estates in Contino (the others are primarily alluvial) with a very high content of active limestone, producing a terroir-driven wine with lots of minerality, freshness, and ageing potential.
The estate’s vineyards are close to the River Ebro, near the village of Laguardia in the Rioja Alavesa. The vineyards have their own microclimate and surround a 200-year-old manor house with some of the oldest wine cellars in Rioja, dating back to the 16th century.
Like many single vineyard riojas, Olivo does not undergo the ageing for Gran Reserva wines, with a more moderate oak regime, akin to a Bordeaux château, to allow the terroir to shine through. The grapes are fermented in 100-hectolitre French oak vats before ageing in new oak barrels for 16 months (85% French, 15% American).
The 2020 vintage saw moderate temperatures and an early harvest, producing wines with excellent acidity and The Wine Advocate's Luis Gutierrez comments on the freshness and chalky tannins in this new release. At £325 per six bottles this is priced at the level of a middling Bordeaux Cru Classé, but comes from one of Rioja's most unique vineyards.
“I love the youth and freshness of the 2020 Viña del Olivo, a blend of 69% Tempranillo, 23% Graciano and 8% Mazuelo that is even lower in alcohol than in 2020 (at 13.52%). It was harvested early but with full ripeness and higher acidity and more freshness. The wine feels very young and tender, with very integrated oak after 14 months in barrel and two months in oak vats. It’s fragrant, floral and aromatic, juicy and fresh, with very fine tannins and a long finish. It has abundant fine-grained tannins and a dry, chalky finish from the limestone soils. This is one of the finest vintages of Olivo; there is a floral quality here that I loved and hadn’t seen in previous vintages of this single-vineyard red. 15,667 bottles and 7500 magnums were filled in March 2022.” 95+ point, Luis Gutierrez, July 2022
“A brilliant evolution in the Vina del Olivio character here, with energy and brightness, as well as focused and pure tannins. Medium- to full-bodied with fantastic length. Very structured. Like eating a perfectly ripe grape al dente. Needs three to four years to come around.” 98 points, James Suckling, April 2023
Offered pre-landing, ex-cellar, at £325 in bond per six bottles. Stock due to arrive July 2023.