The Young One had travelled to Barcelona a few months ago, and we are still celebrating a coming of age, even though it has been over a year. And with the arrival of Stew Pot and Mitty, who divide their time between the Home Land and Spain, it was appropriate to open a bottle from Spain that was put aside for The Young One.
On release the 2003 Contino ‘Vigna del Olivo; Rioja was a spectacularly tight and brooding wine, black as the night with some unusual funky flavours that was attributable to the 20% Graciano that bolstered the Tempranillo. A healthy dose of oaking merged it without being intrusive, but showed just to let you know this was a modern way of thinking, incorporating an indigenous variety of quality that had been discarded in the past few decades. I believed this would take Rioja into another place in the near future, and indeed Graciano is beginning to thrive in the field and in the wine.
Opening this bottle, around half dozen years later, the brooding mantle had dissipated, and the warmth of 2003 had begun to be prominent. Not in a jammy way, but more in richness, sweetness, smoothness and friendliness. The Graciano was truly funky, with a near TCA cork-taint disturbing aspect, but the more it was tasted, the sweeter and savoury it became. A little frightening, but a wine to contemplate and ponder, and in doing so, you come to see the interest it offers. At the end of the bottle, we pronounced it delicious, and though initially suspicious, we relaxed and enjoyed all the connections we had with Spain in the backdrop.