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.
Based on the 5.420 liters of free run juice obtained, after the racking and the consequent removal of lees, shrink and the filling of barrels, we got 4.425 liters of Contador 2015 with which we make the 5.900 bottles of this vintage. Like every year, to develop Contador 2015, we made an interpretation of the crop based on the climate and the ripeness of the grapes. According to this interpretation we chose the vineyards that were previously cited, with the clusters which had the best characters to develop our flagship wine. This selection is special to look for the perfect balance between acidity, alcohol and tannin.