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Capellania is a single-vineyard wine of limited production. Planted in 1945, the low-yielding Capellania vineyard is perched at the Marqués de Murrieta Ygay Estate’s highest point, 485 metres above sea level. It is composed entirely of hand-harvested Viura that is gently crushed, briefly macerated, and pressed in a vertical press. This is a slow process that favours the extraction of aromatic compounds. The juice is settled and fermented in cool steel for 24 days prior to 15 months ageing in new French oak and one year maturation in bottle.
The result is a singular wine: a white with the soul of a red. Astonishingly elegant, complex, and impressively structured. The incredible bouquet will be enhanced by decanting an hour before serving. With a steely straw colour and a very well-defined bouquet of ripe apple, spicy notes of thyme and fennel, hints of almonds and an elegant smoked note. In the mouth, the wine is straightforward and clean, full-bodied, lively and well-balanced. It has a long life ahead. Pair with citrus-glazed duck or very rich, firm fish, like grilled sturgeon.
“Rioja is on a roll. […] Official efforts to add interest to Rioja include increased attention paid to white Rioja that has gone from representing five to eight per cent of total production in the last five years. I have fond memories of the deep golden, waxy, somehow molten white Riojas that were available in the 1970s. Since then such wines have become difficult to find. […] Another of Rioja’s historic producers, Marqués de Murrieta, has been trying to recreate the white wine marvels it used to produce. Their Capellania is a lavishly oaked wine from seriously old vines that begins to prove itself only after several years in bottle.”
Jancis Robinson on Capellania, May 2018
“A white with pretty vanilla, toasted-wood, cooked-apple and lemon character. Medium to full body, creamy texture and a flavourful finish. One of the benchmark whites for Rioja. 16 months in French oak and so balanced. Drink or hold.”
95 points, JamesSuckling.com, Sept 2020
“I was really looking forward to the 2016 Capellanía, the white that inherited the tradition of long aging in barrel that used to be the norm in Rioja until the 1980s. It’s structured, and they strive for aging potential while keeping some of the varietal character. It comes from a plot on the Ygay property that gives the wine its name; it’s their highest plot at 485 meters in altitude. The grapes were picked the 3rd and 4th of October from the six hectares, and the must from pressing the clusters fermented at 10 degrees Celsius in stainless steel. And without going through malolactic, the wine was put in mostly new oak barrels, where it matured for 16 months, and then it was kept in concrete until bottling. It has 13.5% alcohol and very good freshness and acidity, and it comes through as very dry. They love 2016 as a vintage, to the point that they will not release a red Castillo Ygay 2015 (which was considered a very good vintage), because they believe it would be overshadowed by 2016. This is their oldest vineyard, and it seems to have a mind of its own. So, it doesn’t necessarily follow what the other ones do, and in a vintage that saw a large crop, it delivered lower yields and they produced a lot less. The wine is still quite oaky, but I consider this a wine for the medium and long term (I’m still waiting for my 2004s!); but after a couple of hours in the glass, it felt a lot more harmonious. The palate is textured, rich and serious, with a chalky sensation and a long, dry and tasty, almost salty finish. This should make a nice bottle of aged white Rioja. 39,411 bottles and 400 magnums produced. It was bottled in late January 2020. This will be released in the spring of 2021.”
94 points, Wine Advocate, Oct 2020