Only keep wines you love
with our Society's Promise
Free delivery on
12 bottles or orders over £75
Over 1300 wines
handpicked by our buyers
Only made in special vintages, Olivo is a beautifully structured Rioja with depth, intensity and clarity. The indulgent 2016 is outstanding. Our advice is to buy now and be patient – this has a long life ahead and will benefit from some more bottle ageing.
Product Code: SP15271
View all products by Contino
This relatively small property in Rioja Alavesa was set up as a joint-venture by CVNE and the Perez-Villota family, though it is now wholly owned by CVNE. However, it was José de Madrazo Real de Asua who first saw the potential of the vineyard to produce grapes in their own right. He effectively established Contino as the Bordeaux château concept in Rioja. There are some 60 hectares of vineyards planted here along the northern bank of the river Ebro which meanders through the grounds. The whole property is in a truly great setting with the vines sheltered on all sides by hills which helps produce rich grapes that give wines with supple, textured flavours. The winery itself is found within the estate’s old farmhouse which overlooks the entire property. Between 1999 and 2016 Jesús Madrazo, son of José, was in charge of winemaking, taking a very hands-on approach to the business, using a mix of French, American and Hungarian oak to achieve soft, opulently flavoured wines. The vineyards which are mostly tempranillo include around 4 hectares of very old plantings of graciano, one of Rioja’s rare indigenous varieties. The graciano grown here is in fact a distinctive feature of the Contino wines and in excellent years it is also, rather unusually, made as a single-varietal wine. The single vineyard Viña del Olivo is Contino’s modern expression of Rioja from a selection of grapes from a small plot. The straightforward Reservas are concentrated and appealing and keep well.
Rioja sits shielded in northern Spain between the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Cantabria to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda to the south. Both of these rocky ranges play their part in creating a suitable climate for the production of fine wines, shielding the region from cold winds from the Atlantic and hot winds from the Mediterranean.Rioja is split into three sub-regions, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. Rioja Alavesa – Bounded in the north by the craggy Sierra de la Cantabria and in the south by the Ebro river, and sitting in the foothills of the former, Rioja Alavesa feels a distinct Atlantic influence on its weather, despite the protection of the mountains. It has twice the rainfall of Rioja Baja to the south-east and enjoys cooler temperatures on average. The classic Rioja mainstay tempranillo is king here and makes up more than 80% of plantings, supported by garnacha, mazuelo (aka carignan elsewhere) and graciano for red wines, and viura, malvasia and garnacha blanca for whites. Chalk and clay soils proliferate. Generally, the wines of Rioja Alavesa are considered the most finely balanced of Rioja reds.Rioja Alta – Elegant reds are considered the hallmark of Alta wines. A great chunk of the major producers are based in Rioja Alta, concentrated on the town of Haro. Warmer and a bit drier than Alavesa, it also enjoys slightly hotter, more Mediterranean influenced summers and has a range of clay based soils. The reddish, iron rich clays provide a nurturing home for tempranillo while those bearing a chalkier element support the white viura well. Alluvial soils closer to the river are often home to malvasia for blending in to whites. In this area mazuelo is a regular addition to Rioja blends, providing some tannic sinew and beefing up the colour, and the reds here will often take a more significant underpinning of oak.Rioja Baja – Most of Rioja Baja is south of the Ebro and further south and east of its neighbouring sub-regions. Summers in Rioja Baja are more often than not very warm and dry, with vineyards at lower elevations than its neighbours. Consequently soils are predominantly silt and other alluvial deposits with little chalk present, and garnacha reigns supreme among the red varieties because of its ability to deal almost effortlessly with the heat. As a rule, reds from Baja are higher in alcohol and less elegant than in Alavesa and Alta, though of course there are always exceptions and particularly so as viticulture and winemaking improves with every passing year.RIOJA CLASSIFICATIONS AND STYLES EXPLAINED The official Rioja classification is a guarantee of the amount of ageing a wine has undergone. Usually the best wines receive the longest maturation but this does not guarantee quality, which is why it is just as important to follow producer. Crianza: Minimum two years (with at least 12 months in barrel)Reserva: Minimum three years (at least 12 months in barrel)Gran Reserva: Minimum five years (at least 24 months in barrel)What can be confusing is that producers use different ageing techniques (for example some might use American oak, others French, others a mix of both) which will influence the style, structure and flavour of the wine. To help you find the style you like we have split the wines into the following designations. Traditional: Fragrant, silky wines from long ageing in cask (usually American oak) and bottle; ready to drink on release. Modern-classical: Younger, rounder wines that retain the delicious character of Rioja through cask ageing (often a mix of American and French oak) with the structure to develop in bottle. Modern: Richer, velvety wines aged for less time in newer (usually) French oak; released earlier and may need keeping.
The season in Rioja was kind to the vines - after many years of drought, 2016 had good rainfall in winter, providing water reserves for vines to grow gradually through the dry and warm summer. For the first time in years, harvest dates were in line with historical averages and grapes were picked ripe and healthy. Yields were quite high, so to maintain quality the best producers green harvested (thinned the crop by removing some bunches from the vine). It is a year when everything has fallen in to place for an excellent vintage of ripe but beautifully balanced wines.Ribera del Duero can claim similar success to Rioja, with concentrated, balanced wines.In Catalunya drought conditions led to lower than usual yields. That, of course, led to small berries and commensurate concentration in the wines. In short, a very good vintage.
There are no member reviews for this product. Click the 'Leave a Review' button to be the first.
Decanter 3rd Feb 2021
name indicates, this comes from vines located round an old olive tree in the
upper part of the Contino estate. Combining tempranillo with 10% graciano,
it's a bold, structures, intense wine, showing aromas of thyme and incense
and a dark-berry palate that's powerful yet well-balanced. - Tim Atkin MW"
Log in to view notes
Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.
By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.
You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.
4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?
4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?
Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.
The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.
The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.
4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?
We use the following three types of cookies:
220.127.116.11. Strictly Necessary CookiesThese cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:
18.104.22.168. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking CookiesThese cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:
22.214.171.124. Performance/analytical cookiesThese cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:
126.96.36.199. Authentication CookieIn order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.
4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?
All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.
4.4.6. Learn more about cookies