Bodega Contador was founded as recently as 1995, but the fact that it has become one of Rioja’s most respected wineries in such a relatively short time is testament to its superb terroir and the brilliant winemaking skill of proprietor Benjamin Romeo. Starting off with an awe-inspiring cellar hewn into the rock beneath the Castle of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, finding extra space in his parents’ garage, where he crafted the stunning 2004 and 2005 vintages, which both received 100 points from the Wine Advocate. In 2008 Benjamin completed his new, state-of-the-art winery, built into the hills of Rioja surrounded by his vineyards. Benjamin’s wine making is relatively modern, with individual vineyard plots farmed to very small yields and vinified separately, before ageing for a comparatively short 18-20 months in new French oak (as opposed to the traditional American oak). The results are extraordinary.