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Marqués de Murrieta
March 21, 2017
Marqués de Murrieta
We are very excited to announce that the iconic Rioja winery Marqués de Murrieta has joined the Rogers & Company portfolio.
Marqués de Murrieta holds a singular place in the annals of wine. In 1852, Luciano Murrieta, working with fruit from the Duke of Victoria Baldomero Espartero’s vineyards, produced and exported the first commercial “modern” Rioja. To that point in history, Riojas were cheap and cheerful: picked, fermented and sold in the same year. It was Murrieta who introduced barrel and bottle ageing to Rioja, knowledge acquired over many visits to Bordeaux.
By 1872, Murrieta’s success had afforded him the Ygay Estate east of Logroño, Rioja’s capital. (To this day the 300 hectare estate is the single largest in Rioja. It is the only source of their fruit – a rarity in the region.) In that same year, Murrieta was named Marqués by King Amadeo I of Savoy, a commendation for his service in the region.
The Marqués died in 1911. He had neither wife nor children and left the estate to a second nephew. Though the winery remained in operation through two world wars, lack of capital investment resulted in a period of decline. In 1983, the dynamic Count of Creixell Vicente Cebrian-Sagarriga, owner of Pazo Barrantes, a winery in Rias Baixas, purchased the Ygay Estate and set about restoring it to world-class status: new barrels, new technology, new plantings.
Don Vicente died a young man in 1996. He was succeeded by his talented and equally dynamic son, Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga y Suarez-Llanos, who has restored Marqués de Murrieta to greatness. Indeed, today one could claim that it is Rioja’s greatest estate.
International columnist, competition judge and all-around wine expert Tim Atkin, a Master of Wine, has published a classification of Rioja wineries styled after the 1855 Bordeaux classification. It is based on “the quality of each winery and its wines.” In the 2016 and 2017 rankings, Atkins classified Marqués de Murrieta as a “First Growth”, the highest standing.
Marqués de Murrieta also stands out as the most recognized winery on Atkin’s medal podium: “Best Winemaker of the Year in Rioja” for María Vargas, and “Best White Wine of the Year” for Murrieta’s Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial 1986, as well as 98 points, the publication’s highest score.
Mr. Atkin highlights Murrieta’s Dalmau 2012, Castillo Ygay Red 2007 and Marqués de Murrieta Gran Reserva 2010 among the Gran Reservas. All three earned 97 points. Capellanía Blanco 2011 received 94 points and Marqués de Murrieta Reserva 2012 93 points.
We are able to offer the full range of Murrieta’s wines. We expect that they will arrive in 10 to 12 weeks.
“Capellania” is a limited-production wine from a centenary single vineyard: 100% Viura aged 18 months in new French oak barrels and one year in bottle, resulting in astonishing complexity, structure, and elegance.
This is a singular wine, a white wine with the soul of a red. Impressively structured and complex. To enhance the incredible bouquet, decant an hour before serving. Pair with citrus-glazed duck or a firm, meaty fish like grilled sturgeon.
Though the American press have yet to publish reviews of the 2012, the 2011 received 91 from Wine Spectator and 91+ from Wine Advocate. The 2010 received 92 from Wine Spectator, 92 from Vinous.com and 92+ from Wine Advocate. Wine Advocate described the 2011 as “exuberant and perfumed, with aromas of lemon sherbet, magnolia flowers and subtle, elegant spicy oak. There is a sense of harmony that is breathtaking.”
“I have been terribly excited about this wine since I first learned that (part of) it was still in cement waiting to be bottled in September 2013. I consider the rare white Castillo Ygay one of the greatest white wines ever produced in Spain, and the 1986 Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial is a great addition to the portfolio of the winery – an historic wine that is coming back to life.
I did a vertical tasting of many of the old, historic vintages of this wine, and they are included in a separate article in this very same issue. This 1986 had seen the light as a limited early release bottled in 1992 and sold around 1995, and some bottles might still be found in the market. But most of it remained unbottled and was kept at the winery, where it stayed in oak for 21 years, followed by some six years in cement vats until it was bottled.
It has 13.5% alcohol, an extremely low pH of 2.98 and 6.75 grams of acidity (tartaric). It has a very subtle nose and it’s a bit shy, a little closed at first. It was only bottled one and a half years ago, and it’s not crazy to say that the wine is showing extremely young. The wine shows more open the day after, when it has developed some nuances of mushrooms and verbena tea.
This is mostly Viura with perhaps a pinch of Malvasía Riojana (aka Alarije). The palate is both powerful and elegant, with superb acidity and great length, with volume and sharpness, with a mineral, umami-driven finish. It fills your mouth, tickles your taste buds and makes you salivate.
There is nothing negative about the wine; there is no excess oak, nothing blurry, nothing to improve… perhaps the bottle used! I think this is a perfect wine. It seems to be getting younger and younger with time in the glass; it seems to be getting more focused and sharper, and I have no doubt the wine will evolve and last for a very, very, very long time in bottle. I kept the opened bottle for almost one week and the wine didn’t move one inch-no oxidation or any signs of fatigue.
Having tasted many other vintages, including the also perfect 1919 (which is still going strong at age 97), I have no doubt we’re talking about a white for the next 50 years. Looking at the older vintages, I might even be underestimating its life span.
The potential next release could be the 1998 in no less than ten years’ time. Yes, I’m afraid, the price quoted here seems to be correct (but not adequate), but this otherworldly white 1986 has been priced in the stratosphere. Unfortunately, the speculative price tag makes me very angry, but price does not affect the score. The wine is simply stunning. The only issue here is the price tag, to which I can only say that when I went to taste the wine, I also took the opportunity to cancel an order I had previously put in for one case of this wine. At this price, I won’t be buying. What a shame.”
100 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, August 2016
“This is a triumph. An amazing white showing roasted pineapple, dried apple, flowers and hints of lemon curd on the nose. Hints of almonds, too. Full-body, closed and tight with amazing depth and beauty. Waxy, salty, and creamy. Goes on for minutes. 21 years in wood, seven in concrete and then about three years in bottle. First year since 1978. Viura with a hint of Malvasia. I have the same mind-tingling sensation tasting this as tasting the 1963 Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco. Another perfect wine.”
“Terrific aromas of currants, berries, cinnamon and perfume. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a dense palate. Superb length and refinement. Compact. Super length. Superb quality considering the price. More delicate and refined than the 2010. Precise. Drink or hold.”
95 points, JamesSuckling.com, December 2016
“The blend of the 2012 Rioja Reserva is significantly different from previous vintages, with more Graciano and Garnacha. The blend was approximately 77% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 8% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. After a very dry growing season, the harvest was saved by some rains at the end of September, which allowed the grapes to reach perfect ripeness. The wine also had a slightly longer upbringing, 23 months in American oak barrels and at least nine of those months were in new oak barrels. However, it seems like the oak is better integrated than in the 2011, and the fruit is fresher. The palate has one extra point in depth, with very fine tannins and especially good freshness that gives it a sense of great harmony.”
92 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, August 2016
To qualify as a Gran Reserva, a wine must remain in oak for two or more years, and then in bottle for three or more. (In comparison, Reservas age one year or more in oak, followed by two or more in bottle.)
“I also tasted the 2010 Gran Reserva, even though the wine will take some time to be released. The wine shows a different profile, with more freshness, better integrated oak and more subtle nuances in the nose. There is great finesse and balance on the palate. All wines spend some seven to 11 months in the beginning of their upbringing (nine in this case) in new oak, and then they are transferred to used barrels to complete the total time, which in this case was around 25 months in barrel. It develops notes of licorice and aniseed, quite focused. Some 30,000 bottles produced.”
93+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, August 2016
“The 2012 Dalmau – they call it their ‘modern’ red – is a wine that has evolved since the first vintage in 1994; it is now sourced from one single plot of vines, the Pago Canajas, within their Ygay Estate. The blend here is 70% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Graciano, and the aging is exclusively in new French oak barriques and it lasts some 19 months. The varieties of this wine are always aged separately and the blend is decided after the élevage; the blend is different according to the conditions of each harvest. This feels like a ripe and voluptuous vintage with aromas of blackberries and a minty hint, with an earthy touch. The palate is full-bodied with some earthy tannins, full of power. 24,189 bottles.”
93 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, August 2016
An absolute icon in the world of fine wine, this is produced exclusively in the best years from the Estate’s best single vineyard. The 2007 is composed of 86% Tempranillo and 14% Mazuelo (also known as Carignan). The wine ages for 28 months in 225 L oak barrels: American oak for the Tempranillo, French oak for the Mazuelo. Just after the final blending, before bottling, the wine settles in concrete. The finished wine spends at least three years in bottle prior to release.
“The aromas of this show an amazing freshness of flowers and herbs such as lavender, rosemary, and violet. Then it goes to raspberry, candy and currants. Black licorice too. A truly great wine on the nose. Full-bodied, racy and linear. So polished. It’s like a red ruby. 86% Tempranillo and 14% Mazuelo in the blend. For release in September 2015. Great length and future. Give it three years or so. Or decant two hours in advance.”
98 points, JamesSuckling.com, Nov 2015
“A worthy follow-up of the 2007, the 2007 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial will be released in late 2015. This is a cuvée of mostly Tempranillo with the balance of Mazuelo (Cariñena), a very important grape for Castillo de Ygay in percentages that vary depending on the vintage, and it’s almost 15% in 2007. 2007 was not an easy vintage and in Ygay they had a terrible mildew attack and they lost 50% of the bunches. It’s a cold, rainy year, but because of that circumstance the wine is concentrated. This is still a baby, long and with depth and tannins that should melt in a couple of years. Compared with the 2005 it is fresher, perhaps not as concentrated, but for me the extra freshness compensates and puts it at a very similar quality level. And the rule of thumb is to wait at least ten years after the harvest to start uncorking any Castillo de Ygay. Cheap it is not, but very good value it is, for the quality it delivers. 110,000 bottles were produced. There will be no Castillo de Ygay in 2008, but there will be 2009, 2010 and 2011. That’s something exceptional to have three vintages in a row.”
95+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, April 2015