To be classified as a “Reserva”, a wine must spend one year or more in oak, followed by two or more in bottle. Fruit for Marqués de Murrieta’s Reserva is hand-harvested from the Ygay Estate on the southernmost point of Rioja Alta, some 320 to 485 metres above sea level. In 2014, this included 83% Tempranillo and 9% Graciano, with the remainder composed of Garnacha and Mazuelo (also known as Carignan). Hand-harvested fruit was de-stemmed and fermented in cool stainless steel, then pressed in a vertical press – a gentle means of extracting juice. The wine spent 16 months in new and neutral American oak barrels, then nearly a year and a half in bottle prior to release.
“Marqués de Murrieta will ferment 2018 wines in their brand new winery at the Ygay estate. In 2017 they celebrated their 165th anniversary, and they have been able to keep an updated, classical profile in their wines. The blend of the 2014 Rioja Reserva is very similar to the 2013, 84% Tempranillo with 9% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo and 2% Garnacha. 2014 was a somewhat-challenging vintage, with warm and cold spells and some rain during the summer. The fermentation usually lasts eight days with pigéage and remontage, pressed and put to age in 225-liter American oak barrels for 19 months. This is still a little young and has had less time in bottle. It might need a little bit more time in bottle. The nose is subtle and very harmonious, with aromas of red cherries and some aromatic herbs. The palate is soft, it has a velvety texture with polished, round tannins, and there is a subtlety and harmony that is laudable. 900,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in seven lots between July and September 2017.”
93 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Feb 2018
“This red has a lovely texture, polished and deep. The flavours are a bit muted, but reveal notes of cherry preserves, candied orange, dried herbs and vanilla, with light, firm tannins and orange peel acidity. Harmonious, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2026. 10,000 cases imported.”
92 points, Wine Spectator, May 2018