Profile of Contino

The beautiful Rioja Alavesa wine estate Contino has emerged as one of the benchmarks for terroir focused, sublime and structured Rioja, showcasing the tremendous depth and complexity that the region can give. Unlike many of its neighbors, Contino has adhered to the principles of terroir-driven wines from the very beginning, investing countless hours and sums into understanding its wonderfully diverse vineyards. It was also the first producer to bring the “Chateau concept” to Rioja. Contino has always produced wines from its estate vineyards, rather than blending grapes from different sources across the region, as was the standard practice in Rioja. At the head of this brilliant project is Jesus Madrazo, one of Spain’s great winemaking stars. From his base in Laserna, he produces superb wines in diverse styles, from the thirst-quenching white to a highly sought-after icon wine, Vina del Olivo. Indeed, nothing less than exceptional wine ever leaves these cellar doors, proof that well-made Rioja can easily rival the top fine wines from France, Italy, and beyond.

The estate was founded in 1974 and has produced a top cuvée from every vintage since then, with exceptions made for poor years. The group behind the Contino name is the CVNE family, who had previously worked with other families to produce wines from these vineyards, under the brand “La Serna Wine Society.” Recognizing the land’s exceptional potential, they decided to band together as a single entity in the 1970s to release a wine under the name Contino and have since earned a reputation as one of Rioja’s most consistent suppliers. The gorgeous building that today faces the vineyards was an ancestral home, lovingly restored and updated by the CVNE family, who also spared no expense in constructing a state-of-the-art winery. The cellar, however, is of ancient origin, dating back to the 16th century. But the most important element to Contino’s success has always been its workforce, represented by two generations of the Madrazo family. Jesus’ father, José Madrazo, initially steered Contino to greatness until 1984, when Jesus took over. He was subsequently appointed estate director in 1999 and has left his mark by introducing a further range of impressive bottlings to complement the original Contino cuvee. These include a 100% varietal Graciano and the Contino Gran Reserva, only produced in the finest vintages.

Today, for both wine critics and connoisseurs, the wines of Contino need little introduction. They are justly recognized for their consistency, quality, and longevity. A testament to Madrazo’s team’s hard work, who understand that no amount of fancy winemaking equipment is a substitute for extensive hard work in the vineyards. Nowhere is this more apparent than when tasting the prestige cuvee Vina Del Olivo, considered to be one of the greatest wines in all of Spain. This magic source lies in the block of vineyards surrounding an ancient olive tree, where the interaction between the vines and the olive trees’ roots leads to an exceptional wine indeed. Visit Contino as part of a luxury wine tour of Northern Spain; contact us for more info and pricing.

Wines produced

  • Contino Reserva (Red)

    85% Tempranillo, 2% Mazuelo, 10% Graciano, 2% Garnacha. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, total maceration time was between 15-20 days. The wine was then aged in a mixture of French and American oak for 2 years, then subject to bottle age of a further 2 years. A structured, powerful Rioja that is also approachable on release.

  • Contino Gran Reserva (Red)

    70% Tempranillo, 15% Graciano, 15% Garnacha. Fermentation takes place in concrete vats, total maceration time was 20 days. The wine then undergoes malolatic fermentation in new French oak. Ageing is done in a mixture of French and American oak for 3 years, then subject to bottle age of a further 2 years. Approachable on release, the Gran Reserva can be cellared for at least 10 years.

  • Contino Blanco

    70% Viura, 10% Malvasia, 20% Garnacha Blanca. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, the wine is then moved to French barriques where the process finishes. The wine is aged on its lees and kept in barrel for a period of between 6-7 months. A superb, fruit-driven white Rioja.

  • Contino Vina Del Olivo

    88% Tempranillo, 12% Graciano. Fermentation takes place in French oak vats, following fermentation, the wine is transferred to French barriques for the malolatic fermentation. The wine is then aged in a mixture of French, American and Hungarian oak barrels for 17 months, and bottle aged for a further year. The prestige wine of the property, suitable for extended cellaring.

  • Contino Graciano

    100% Graciano. Fermentation takes place in French oak vats, total maceration time was between 15-20 days. The wine was then aged in a mixture of 100% new French and Hungarian oak for 15 months, then subject to bottle age of a further year. A rare example of a Graciano varietal Rioja.

Winery details


Finca San Rafael
01321 Laserna (Alava)
La Rioja, Spain
Tel +(34) 945 60 02 01
Fax +(34) 945 62 11 14

Rioja (Alavesa)
Area under vine
63 hectares
Age of vines
22 years+ Low yields
Jesus Madrazo
80,000 to 300,000 bottles per annum, vintage dependant
Grape varietals
Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Garnacha, Viura, Malvasia, Garnacha Blanca

More information

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Cellar Tours is a Luxury Travel Specialist, operating since 2003 and offering exclusive Mercedes chauffeured Gourmet Vacations in Chile, France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain. We specialize in luxurious custom designed vacations, events and incentives related to food and wine. We are proud members of Slow Food, UNAV (Travel Agency Association in Spain), and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals).

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