95 Points “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.”
92 Points "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."
91 Points "Cherry, blackberry and baking-spice aromas are classic for this winery and the Rioja region. Bright, elegant and just plush enough on the palate, this tastes of plum, spiced berry fruits and mocha. A composed, dry, loamy feeling finish isn't pushy or demanding."
91 Points "I had two vintages to taste of the same wine, which always makes for an interesting comparison. The 2011 Rioja Reserva, their volume red, is a blend of 89% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, 4% Graciano and 2% Garnacha Tinta from a diversity of plots in the Ygay Estate. The different varieties fermented separately in stainless steel vats. It matured in 225-liter American oak barrels for some 20 months, at least during eight months in new oak. The wine very clearly shows much riper fruit than the 2012; it is great to see the wine reflecting the much warmer conditions of the harvest. It has a classical profile with an important role of the American oak. The palate is polished and sleek, with very fine tannins and a long finish. 950,000 bottles produced in eight different lots. I tasted a bottle from the bottling in the second half of 2014. In the context of the new Rosé and the old white that has just been released, the price here looks unreal."
90 Points "Ruby-red. Aromas of dried cherry, pipe tobacco and rose oil, with a subtle vanilla note in the background. Smooth and sweet in the mouth, offering pliant red fruit and succulent herb flavors plus a hint of licorice. Finishes long and subtly smoky, with supple tannins and lingering notes of bitter cherry and vanilla."
94 Points "Fabulous aromas of crushed berry and dark fruits with walnuts, hazelnuts, and ginger. Cinnamon and honey melon too. Full-bodied, very tight and firm. Linear backbone of fruit and tannins. Very long and racy. 22 months in American oak (six months new and then racked into used). Beautiful now but needs another two or three years to soften. A triumph."
93 Points "There is gob-smacking precision and elegance here. It's a pure wine with no oak that is super harmonious, floral and fragrant. I simply fell in love with the nose. Now onto the palate. The entry is really fluid, and then it explodes in your mouth, filling it along a thread of fine acidity making it long and tasty. It has the same astonishing purity and harmony, focus and precision found in the nose. This has to be the best Reserva from Murrieta in recent times. Bravo![…] Mind boggling quality for the price asked."
90 Points "Spicy aromas lead to flavors of vanilla, cherry, fresh herb and mineral in this expressive red. Though oaky notes are prominent, there's a core of focused fruit, and the light structure is fresh and balanced. Graceful and alluring. Drink now through 2021."
90 Points "On first take, this smells ripe and raisiny, with accents of marzipan, cigar box and baked berries. The palate is blocky in feel, with big tannins and a sense of richness. Baked, earthy, chocolaty berry flavors reflect a hot vintage, while the finish is chocolaty and spicy. Drink through 2020."
90 Points "Earthy, dry aromas of plum and cherry come with notes of vanilla, herbs, tobacco and leather. This feels fresh, acidic and generally well balanced. Flavors of spiced plum and berry are riper than many 2008s from Rioja, while a finish with tobacco and leathery flavors is solid and fairly long."
91 Points It has strong balsamic notes of incense, smoked meat, leather, fennel and cherries, which make it feel very Rioja. The palate is medium-bodied, balanced, with great acidity and freshness. A serious vintage of Murrieta Reserva that represents great balance between tradition and modernity. Drink 2014-2028.
90 Points Smart Buy "This generous red offers ripe plum, roasted fig and chocolate flavors, with notes of licorice and baking spices. The plump texture is supported by well-integrated tannins and gentle acidity. Drink now through 2016."
91 Points "This wine has highly perfumed aromas of redcurrant, cherry skin, vanilla and fresh flowers. It is smoky and expansive on the palate, offering gently sweet dark fruit flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate. The vanilla note recurs on the finish, which is given shape by smooth, fine-grained tannins."
90 Points "It exhibits greater intensity on the nose with elegant red fruit, mingling with lavender and terracotta aromas. It is well-defined and speaks of its place. The palate is medium-bodied with a fleshy, well-defined entry. Crisp red fruit, sage and a touch of orange rind vie for attention, while the oak is succinctly well-integrated. The cocoa-tinged finish is both satisfying and long. Drink 2014-2025."
90 Points "Bright ruby-red. Cherry, black raspberry, vanilla and cracked pepper on the highly perfumed nose. Sappy, incisive dark fruit flavors are lifted by tangy acidity and pick up smokiness and oak spices with air. Finishes on a gently sweet note, with very good clinging length."
90 Points "Asian spices, incense, mineral, smoke, black cherry, and blackberry are some of the nuances that appear as the wine sits in the glass. Savory spices, ripe tannins, and layers of black fruit flavors lead to a seamless finish in a wine that will evolve for several more years and drink well through 2027."
91 Points "Garnet in color, with a traditional sour cherry and oak scent, this wine grows at the Ygay estate in Rioja Alta. It’s smooth and plummy, with spicy red fruit tannins laying in wait for a steak. The minerality lasts, hinting at complexities to come with bottle age."
91 points "Bright red. Fresh red berry and spice aromas suggest a higher percentage of garnacha. Suave, energetic red berry flavors stain the palate, nicely braced by tangy mineral and spice qualities. The finish repeats the red fruit note and hangs on tenaciously."
90 points "...With time this serious Rioja unveils toasty raspberry and mineral-tinged cola and plum aromas and flavors. There’s natural snap to the wine courtesy of bright natural acidity, but also some beef and body that manifests itself in a controlled creaminess that houses herbal, chocolaty finishing notes."
"Lively, supple wine, nicely rounded and balanced, with oak notes, spice, and lush blackberry fruit. Elegant. Delicious. Good firm finish, with soft tannins. This is Murrieta's 'signature' wine and a Rioja you should know."
89 points "Medium to dark ruby-colored, it offers up a stylish bouquet of cedar, leather, tobacco, spice box, and blackberry. Medium-bodied, nicely balanced, and succulent, this ripe, tasty wine from a superb vintage will evolve for 3-4 years and perform at its best between 2011 and 2019. It is a very good value in the classic Rioja style."
94 Points “Extremely aromatic with lilacs, lemon rind and limes. Full-bodied, yet linear and very tight. Candied apples and bright acidity. From very old vines planted in 1965. A white of contrast and distinctive character. Drink now.”
91 Points "A thick texture carries bold flavors of coconut, almond, lanolin and vanilla in this powerful white, framing a core of creamed pear and honeydew. Has light tannic grip and enough acidity to stay lively."
91+ Points "Capellanía is the name of a vineyard in the Ygay estate, the highest altitude one at 485 meters altitude, and is also the name of a white from Marqués de Murrieta. The 2011 Capellanía is a wine produced with Viura grapes aged like a red, with the idea to produce a white with ability to live long in bottle. The must obtained from a slow pressing of the full clusters fermented in stainless steel and the wine matured in new 225-liter French oak barriques. 2011 was a very warm and ripe vintage, and a long time in new oak can provide very oaky wines, especially in wines with moderate acidity, which sometimes take the oak aromas and flavors in a very strong way. This is not the case here; the wine is exuberant and perfumed, with aromas of lemon sherbet, magnolia flowers and subtle, elegant spicy oak. There is a sense of harmony that is breathtaking. It doesn't look like a warm vintage at all. The finish is very tasty and long. I think this should age nicely."
92 Points "Aromas of wood grain, vanilla, butter and fino Sherry are elegant and attractive for this style of white Rioja. On the palate, this oak-aged Viura is smooth, while creamy flavors of oak, apricot and peach excel. A smooth finish with plenty of vanilla and core acidity indicates this will age well for another 10 years."
92 Points "Light yellow-gold. Heady, oak-spiced aromas of ripe citrus and orchard fruits, vanilla, anise and iodine, with a bright floral overtone. Smooth and fleshy on entry, then tighter in the middle, offering palate-staining Meyer lemon, tangerine and poached pear flavors lifted and given spine by juicy acidity. Plays power off of vivacity suavely and finishes sappy, smoky and very long, with resonating spiciness and an echo of vanilla."
92 Points #80 of 2015 TOP100 "Aromatic notes of beeswax, chamomile and orange blossom frame baked apple, coconut, ginger and tarragon flavors in this generous white. Fresh acidity and light tannins keep this structured, as the spicy accents linger on the finish. A traditional style. Drink now through 2020."
95 Points "Aromas of white flowers, sliced pears, pineapple and chrysanthemum. Lilacs too. Full body plus mineral, stone and bright fruit flavors. It last for minutes on the palate. From a single plot of viura on the estate. It is barrel fermented and then aged 17 months. A great white. Phenomenal for the money."
92+ Points "The 2010 Capellanía Blanco Reserva is an old-style white Rioja fermented in stainless steel and aged for 17 months in brand new French oak barrels. […] The nose is full of beeswax, white flowers, chamomile, fennel and licorice with smoke and sweet spices. It is very intense and powerful, obviously oaky, but Viura is a grape that takes very well on the oak aging and helps it develop in bottle for a long time. There is no astringency or edges in the palate as the wine is very unctuous and fuller when tasted next to 2009. Very balanced with a good alcohol level. These wines really grow in complexity in bottle and develop nuances for a long time, so there is no rush to drink this beauty. Very good value for the quality it delivers."
91 Points BEST OF THE YEAR "As a young wine, this is all about texture - the silken feel of buttery have cheeks, the sweet, creamy richness of a blanquette de veau - and both the Spanish delicacy and the hearty French comfort food would be delicious with this barrel-fermented virura. It grows on the plateau at the top of Murrieta's Finca Ygay, at an elevation of 1.575 feet, where the vines have been exploring the calcareous clay and alluvial stones of an ancient riverbed for 70 years. Give it some age and the salted caramel scents will transform to a more savory essence of Ygay."
93 Points "Round and plush, this rich white delivers pear, melon and tangerine flavors, with layers of vanilla, white chocolate and clove. Citrusy acidity keeps this fresh."
90 Points "Bright, green-tinged gold. Dried pear, vanilla, minerals and toasted grain on the deeply perfumed nose. Chewy and tightly focused, offering bitter pear skin and anise flavors and a hint of lemon pith. Stretches out with air and finishes spicy and long, with repeating anise and pear notes and bright, stony cut."
91 Points "This powerful white offers a rich version of the traditional style. Roasted almond, dried apple and beeswax flavors mingle over a firm backbone of acidity, with a full body and good balance. Drink now through 2022."
91 Points "There are wines with mass appeal and others that are so idiosyncratic that only one in five people might like it. This falls into the latter category; it’s barrel-fermented Viura with Sherry, dry wood, butterscotch and corn cake aromas. The mouth is creamy and resiny, with integrated acidity that keeps it afloat. Flavors of spiced pear, vanilla, cinnamon and toffee suggest amontillado Sherry and something elusive yet refined. Drink now with a rich seafood dish like lobster or baked turbot."
91 Points "Smoky lees and white flowers complement ripe pear and orange on the nose. Fleshy and broad but dry, offering intense orchard fruit flavors that turn spicier with air. Closes with strong mineral cut, a hint of vanilla and lingering smokiness. This wine handles the richest foods, but also has the elegance to work with lighter dishes."
92 Points "A supple Iberian pleasure, this viura gains buttery richness from time in oak. The fruit dominates, bringing litchi and pineapple notes to the finish while the wine remains completely dry. For a plate of hake cheeks."
91 Points "Light yellow-gold. Deeply pitched aromas of white peach, pineapple and pear, with toasty lees and a vanilla note adding complexity. Lush, sappy and oak-spicy, with very good intensity and focus to its pit and tropical fruit flavors. Picks up a zesty lemony quality that adds bite to the long, spicy finish."
90 Points "This white embraces the traditional style, featuring notes of coconut and vanilla from oak balanced by dried pear, almond and herb flavors. Firm, with very bright acidity that keeps this lively."
91 Points "Aromas of toast, baking spices, almonds, butterscotch, and melon lead to a smooth-textured, rich, savory wine with well-integrated acidity that cleans the palate. This lengthy effort is capable of evolving for several years and is likely to drink well through 2021."
93 Points "This expressive white is fragrant with almond blossom, citrus peel, apple, vanilla and spice notes that sail through the palate, carried on firm acidity that gives the wine a lithe, muscular texture. Fresh and long. Drink now through 2020."
"Charming and engaging wine. Attractive gold hue. There's depth and rich flavors here, with notes of citric, apple, and vanilla. Perfect both as an aperitif wine, with brunch, cheese and paté. An entirely satisfying wine."
91 points, Editors' "Lucid yellow in the glass, yet lightly oxidized on the nose. A spacy, unique Viura. There’s dry apricot and peach pit flavors, and mouthfeel and acidity are impeccable. A treat for explorers; eschews all blueprints for modern white wine."
91 Points "This appealing Rioja hits with prune and raisin aromas. On the palate, bulky, grabby tannins are rugged and provide structure to an otherwise very ripe wine. Flavors of coconut, mocha, plum and black currant give this a Mounds bar character."
98 Points "The aromas show amazing freshness of flowers and herbs such as lavender, rosemary and violet. Then it goes to raspberry, candy, currants and liquorice. A truly great nose. Full-bodied, racy and linear. It’s like a red ruby. 86% tempranillo and 14% mazuelo. Give it three years or so. Or decant two hours in advance."
#13 of Top 100 Wines "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."
95+ Points "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."
92 Points "Lively and graceful, offering bright cherry, vanilla, clove and tobacco flavors that mingle harmoniously over well-integrated tannins, this red is not muscular but focused and expressive, balanced and long. Drink now through 2022."
97 Points "You just want to smell this, with a polish and clarity that changes all the time. Aromas of walnuts, dark fruits, ginger, roasted seaweed, soya, iron, rosemary, and lavender. Full-bodied, yet polished and firm. Such tension and form. The length is phenomenal. As always, this is a selection of the best of the best. A blend of 90% tempranillo and 10% mazuelo. Almost all American oak. Aged three years barrel and then three years in bottle. Drink or hold."
94 Points #84 of WS 2014TOP100 "Marqués de Murrieta is among Rioja's oldest bodegas, but owner Vincente Cebrian recently completed a massive refurbishment to keep the winery at the leading edge of quality. This bottling represents a fusion of Rioja's traditional and modern styles. Castillo Ygay is produced from 80-year-old vines in the La Plana vineyard, located at the highest point within this historic estate. Tempranillo-dominated and Mazuelo-supported, the wine was fermented in both American and French oak, then aged for 30 months in barrel."
94 Points Highly Recommended "Bold and rich, this red fills the palate with blackberry, plum sauce, soy, chocolate and spicy flavors. Broad and deep, in a modern style, with plenty of oak and enough backbone to stay focused. Drink now through 2020."
95 Points Editor's choice "Superb at every checkpoint, this is a world-class wine. Cherry, cassis and earth aromas are spicy and mellow, not bullish or loud. This feels creamy but with enough textural grit to keep things lively, while flavors of vanilla, tobacco and plum are nicely integrated. A mild, medium-long finish epitomizes elegance. Drink now through 2025."
94 Points Year’s Best Rioja "it's a Super Rioja, physically more powerful though perhaps less immediately terroir expressive than the 2004. The detail is all incipient in the wine, sparkling with acidityand mica-like reflections in the tannins, layering strawberry with blue fruit and black licorice, youthful and bright, smoky and firm. The texture is as grand as the expansive finish. This wine has the stamina and the breed to age for decades."
96 Points It’s extremely backward and tight, showing very young, with a balanced nose between spice, tertiary and cherry fruit aromas. It’s a powerful, still young vintage, with plenty of glycerin, body, round tannins. An austere wine (is it the Mazuelo?), it is complex and ever-changing in the palate. It has a sense of harmony that only the best wines have. Very long and elegant. I loved its serious and austere overall feeling. 100,000 bottles produced. This is a true vin de garde which develops complex notes of violet and meat with time in the glass. This is a Gran Reserva greatly marked by the Mazuelo, which should give it great ability to age. At this quality level it represents very good value. Drink 2014-2030.
95 Points "The 2004 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial has a delightful bouquet with scents of leather, mocha, freshly ground coffee beans and red berry fruit. It has a perfume that encapsulates everything there is to love about classic Rioja. The palate is a little viscous on the entry with hints of dried fig and dates. It is interwoven by a crisp thread of acidity and displays fine, slightly powdery tannins. There is abundant freshness and vitality: a Rioja speaking of its place with eloquence and clarity. This paragon of classic Rioja lives up to its evocative label."
"The Castillo Ygay is the flagship wine of this great Rioja estate. Crafted almost entirely from Tempranillo, this elegant and supple wine with a powerful nose of red and black fruit and saddle leather is aged entirely in American oak. Accessible now, it will age beautifully for decades.”
93 Points "A formidable, old-fashioned gran reserva, this has the grace and dynamism of great Rioja, powerful without weight. The tannins are precise, focused on Moorish spice, hinting at crushed black peppercorn and cumin. Long and complex, this needs bottle age to fully develop. It should blossom into a great 2004."
91 Points "Starts out a bit flat, with milk chocolate and raisiny aromas. With airing it evolves and expands, showing snappy flavors of berry, raisin and brown sugar. Very solid on the finish and elegant as an aged Rioja gran reserva should be."
92 Points "Deep ruby-red. Ripe red berry and cherry aromas are complicated by vanilla, pipe tobacco and potpourri. Fleshy, palate-coating redcurrant and cherry compote flavors deliver solid punch and pick up floral pastille and smoky nuances with air. The long, seamless finish repeats the deep cherry note and leaves dusty minerals and spices behind. This is delicious now but has the depth and balance to age effortlessly."
90 Points "This plump red bursts with plum, cherry, chocolate and toast flavors, framed by soft tannins and gentle acidity. A juicy wine."
94 Points "Deeply colored, spicy, elegant and complex, the wine has great volume and grip as well as exceptional length. It can be approached now but will easily have a 30 year lifespan."
Best wines of 2010 "It is classic Rioja from a great vintage, and exemplifies everything that makes Rioja so appealing: silky cherry fruit, a kind of spicy earth note that suggests the Spanish terrain, and enough age (this is the current release) that all of its flavors and structural notes are in perfect balance."
92 Points "On the palate balsamic and other savory notes make an appearance along with plenty of succulent black fruit. It has outstanding depth, concentration, and balance and should evolve for another 4-5 years. It is likely to have a 30 year lifespan."
An "Excellent" Spani "Murrieta, one of the greatest producers in Rioja, sources its classically styled gran reserva solely from its vast 741-acre Ygay estate, located at the southern tip of Rioja Alta. In 2001—the current release—the wine is full of ripe cherry fruit, with notes of licorice and dry leaves."
"...the 2001 Castillo Ygay gran reserva remains true to the style, graceful, light-bodied and balanced. It will be a lovely wine in 20 years."
92 points "Medium red. Impressively complex bouquet of dried red fruits, tobacco, cedar and potpourri. A spicy, subtly sweet midweight, offering lively redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors and very soft tannins. The smoky finish features a strong echo of cedary spice."
89 points "This supple red is fragrant with berry, wild herb and chocolate notes that carry through to the perfumed finish. The tannins are softening, but the acidity remains lively. Not big, but expressive."
"...I loved the 2001 Castillo Ygay Gran reserva from Marqués de Murrieta, with its beautiful, sheer fruit, lively acidity and lovely, light body..."
"The 2001 Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial...should be around and about, and was the star of the younger wines in the retrospective—cherry fruit with notes of licorice and forest floor, ripe and dense but not heavy, and a leathery-gamey hint on the end. All the richness of the '01 vintage in a classically styled wine, in a sense. I wish I had a case so I could see how it will be, forty years down the line."
90 points "An elegant Rioja made in a more traditional style. ...The palate is where this wine shines: the feel is elegant and smooth, while the cherry and raspberry flavors are subtle and a little bit tangy. Mature and sexy stuff; more classic than modern, but not 100% old-school."
"Cedar, mineral, earth and spice are in the aromas, with big, rich texture and blackberry and cherry flavors. Soft chewy tannins. Complex. Elegantly made with firm, long finish. It is drinking beautifully just now."
90 points "Deep crimson-colored, it offers up an enticing perfume of cedar, pencil lead, earth notes, and black fruits. This leads to a supple-textured, layered wine with ample black cherry, spice, and blackberry flavors. The lengthy wine has excellent grip and enough structure to evolve for another 3-5 years. It should be at its peak from 2010 to 2022."
93 Points "It still has a deep cherry red color along with an aromatic array of underbrush, brier, tobacco, incense, and blackberry. It has slightly sweeter fruit and livelier acidity than the 1994. This lengthy effort is at its peak now where it should remain for another 20 years."
94 points "There are just 1250 cases of the exceptional 1978 Gran Reserva Especial Castillo Ygay....Medium ruby-colored, it has a super-expressive bouquet of cedar, leather, Asian spices, mineral, and assorted red and black fruits with the kind of complexity that only extended aging can provide. Remarkably youthful on the palate, the wine shows little sign of age. Ripe, elegant, concentrated, and full-flavored, this beautifully balanced wine can be enjoyed now and should continue to drink well for at least another 12-15 years."
100 Points “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.”
#4 of Top 100 Wines "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 Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco. Another perfect wine."
100 Points "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..."
93 Points “Aromas of spices, sweet tobacco, smoke and currants. Full-bodied, chewy and powerful. Modern style. A blend of 80% tempranillo, 15% cabernet sauvignon and 5% graciano. Needs at least four to five years more to soften.”
90 Points "This generous red delivers ripe plum and blackberry fruit, accented by dark chocolate and candied orange peel notes. Firm tannins and lively acidity impart structure. Expressive."
93 Points "The 2012 Dalmau Reserva--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."
91 Points "This appealing Rioja hits with prune and raisin aromas. On the palate, bulky, grabby tannins are rugged and provide structure to an otherwise very ripe wine. Flavors of coconut, mocha, plum and black currant give this a Mounds bar character."
92 Points "Brilliant violet color. Intense aromas of fresh dark berries, cherry compote, pipe tobacco and vanilla, with a jolt of peppery spices adding vivacity. Stains the palate with deep blackberry and cherry-vanilla flavors, showing impressive energy and back-end lift. Smoke and vanilla notes carry through a sweet, tenacious, youthfully tannic finish."
92 Points "A solid and chewy red with lots of chocolate, dried fruit and pine nut aromas and flavors. Full body. Lots of oak on the finish. Muscular and fruit-forward wine. A blend of tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon and graciano. Single vineyard. Drink now."
94 Points "Same as they didn't do Dalmau in 2008 they didn't bottle it in the 2010 vintage, and the next one will be the 2011 Dalmau Reserva, which will be released in March-April 2015. Dalmau is the most "international" of all their wines, but is a wine from Ygay because the Cabernet they have in their vineyards is now 56 years old and is part of the estate and you also feel more the smoky notes and the earthy, peat-like minerality. The maximum amount of Cabernet Sauvignon (or other experimental varieties, generically referred to as "Others," any varieties that were planted before 1956) is 15% and it also contains 6% Graciano, the rest being, of course Tempranillo. The varieties are fermented and aged in barrel separately, then assembled and matured in cement vats for a good 8-9 months. This 2011 is considered internally a perfect vintage for Ygay and has a very Atlantic, Bordeaux-like nose that is serious and concentrated. This is a cuvée that used to be quite oaky, but this has changed radically and the earthy personality is much stronger, and the oak is perfectly integrated, and even if it's extremely young is perfectly drinkable and showing classical aromas of cigar box, cedar wood and lead pencil. The texture is creamy and even if the tannins are velvety and the acidity is fine, just the complexity you will gain with a couple of years in bottle would payback a little patience. It's a matter of personal preference and the style in this wine is quite strong, but this is objectively a great vintage for Dalmau."
93 Points "Lusty blackberry and cassis aromas ride onto a balanced, fresh palate, while flavors of red berry, chocolate, fig and various spices finish nicely, with a tobacco-like note. This could use another year or so to settle; drink from 2015 on."
94 Points They didn’t bottle Dalmau in 2008, so they are already releasing the 2009 Dalmau Reserva now, which shows a more modern profile than the Reserva or the Castillo de Ygay... It displays a dark ruby color, a serious nose with some balsamic, minty notes, and aromas of licorice, cedar wood, smoke, cigar ash, a mixture of red and black fruit, and spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. It feels more Atlantic than Mediterranean. The palate is round and elegant, with great acidity, amulti-dimensional character, and a very long finish. 22,500 bottles were filled. Drink 2014-2028.
92 Points "Rich, ripe flavors of blackberry and black cherry mingle with savory notes of licorice, tobacco and clove in this plush, lively red. Features a generous texture, with enough acidity for balance and freshness."
93 Points "The 2009 Dalmau Reserva has explosively perfumed aromas of cherry compote, cassis, vanilla and pipe tobacco, with smoky and floral overtones. Lush and open-knit, it offers deeply concentrated dark fruit and floral pastille flavors complicated by sweet vanilla and mocha nuances. This wine clings with superb tenacity on the gently tannic finish, leaving behind notes of dark berry liqueur and rose pastille."
92 Points "Cut from a (well-tailored) modern cloth, the excellent 2007 Dalmau has a dark broody nose with black plum, cassis and cedar. It demonstrates well-integrated oak and fine delineation. The palate is full-bodied with an unashamedly oak-laden entry that suffuses the blackberry, vanilla pod and blueberry notes that sweep over the mouth. There are subtle touches of pain grille and cooked meats underlying the dense black fruit, but what I admire is the focus and freshness maintained from start to finish. It has barely started to show what it can do, but I look forward to tasting this in ten years time. Drink 2018-2030."
93 Points "It offers up an expressive nose of sandalwood, mineral, balsamic, incense, black cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it displays considerable complexity... Savory, ripe, layered, and long, this outstanding wine will offer a drinking window extending from 2015 to 2027."
93 Points Cellar Selection "Concentrated to the max, with young, closed aromas of coconut, charcoal, mint leaf, leather, hot pavement and black fruit. The palate is juvenile, full and warm, and it delivers a jolt of meaty black fruit, licorice and baking-spice flavors. Toasty late, with no shortage of structure and oak. Should age well for a decade or so."
92 Points "Notes of raspberry, wild strawberry, chamomile and pain grille are all well-defined and cloaked in well-integrated new oak. The palate is full-bodied with succulent ripe tannins that effortlessly carry the weight of its layered raspberry and wild strawberry fruit. The acidity keeps it balanced and fresh, lending the finish the requisite tension, while the finish is focused and lithe with subtle hints of brown sugar and mandarin. Drink this little beauty from 2014-2025."
94 Points "Dense purple in color, it exhibits aromas of pain grille, graphite, lavender, spice box, and assorted black fruits with a hint of balsamic and chocolate. Savory, spicy, and well-balanced, this layered offering has plenty of silky tannins and a pure, seamless finish. It will continue to blossom for several more years and drink well through 2025."
"Like many Rioja wineries, Murrieta also makes a red wine in a modern style — darker, richer, with tannins imparted by French oak. It’s called Dalmau, which Mr. Cebrián-Sagarriga calls 'a modern concept of Murrieta.' It, too, is balanced and not overripe, like other versions of what many in Rioja call 'alta expression' wines. With Castillo de Ygay and Dalmau, Marqués de Murrieta manages to have it both ways."
93 points, Editors' "Dalmau strikes again in 2005! This icon wine from Marqués de Murrieta strikes all the right chords. The nose is round, toasty, warm and exotic, with huge berry and plum aromas sexed up by well-applied, fine-grained wood notes. It’s lush but balanced, with mineral, violet and bitter chocolate nuances adding complexity. Husky in size, but maintains its form and balance."
"In the bouquet, there are wafting oak and spice notes, with deep rich blackberry fruit, plum, and currant tones in the flavors. A generous wine that's big and assertive, with a very long finish."
95 points, Editors' "This is a spectacular wine in every sense of the word. The nose blends alluring scents of smoke, asphalt, rubber and black fruit. The palate is saturated and smooth, with black cherry and blackberry flavors leading the way. Coffee, berry pie and mocha help the finish hold court and then fade away. Already good but best from 2010-2020."
92 points "Dark ruby/purple-colored, it reveals an aromatic array of toasty new oak, spice box, mineral, blueberry, and black currants. Considerably more powerful than its traditionally made siblings, on the palate if is full-bodied, firm, layered, and quite concentrated. The spicy flavors fall on the dark side of the spectrum with blackberry, plum, and black currant in the forefront. The wine has at least a decade of aging potential and will be at its peak from 2015 to 2030 although it can be enjoyed now with a charcoal-grilled ribeye."
93 Points The 2013 La Comtesse is also pure Albariño from a special plot from their estate vineyards, Cacheiro, from vines planted in 1965, their oldest and higher altitude wines. In this case fermented and matured in 3,000-liter oak vats. They selected the oldest vines, the destemmed grapes were pressed slowly, and the must fermented during 50 days. The élevage lasted some three months in contact with the lees and then racked and kept for a further 12 months. This cold, late and complex harvest shows a much better integration of the oak. It also helped the fact that the oak is aged: the two vats used for this wine were bought in 2009 and 2012, so, as the wood ages it lends less aromas to the wines and respects the fruit in a cleaner way. The dominant aromas are grassy and very fresh, balanced, subtle and complex. The palate shows a brilliant combination of volume and freshness that make it very satisfying without being heavy, lifted by the acidity. If you want to combine Albariño and oak, this is how it should be done. This is the best vintage of La Comtesse to date. 6,561 bottles produced. The Rías Baixas wines from Rioja's Marqués de Murrieta have turned into some of the most reliable wines of the appellation.
92 Points "Limpid gold. Powerful, sharply focused Meyer lemon, poached pear and honeysuckle aromas are lifted by a smoky mineral nuance. At once juicy and broad on the palate, offering ripe orchard and citrus fruit flavors and suggestions of honey and candied ginger. Plays richness off of vivacity with a smooth hand and finishes sappy and very long, with resonating floral and mineral notes. This deep, complex wine was fermented and aged for a year in 3,000-liter French oak casks."
93 Points "A creamy and beautiful wine with sliced pear and apple. Hints of white peach and lime too. Full body, lovely texture and a long and flavorful finish. This is made from a special plot of vineyards that have 50 years of age or more. Fermented and aged one year in a large 3,000 liter French oak cask. A stylish white. Electric."
92 Points "The 2011 La Comtesse, the oaked Albariño from the winery, is a wine that fermented in 3,000-liter French oak vat at low temperature for 40 days where it matured in contact with the fine lees for one year. It rests for one more year before it's sold. the fruit comes from a single vineyard called Cacheiro, the older vines on the property, which give low yields. the wine is a clear step up over the 2010 (where I found the oak much better integrated), a serious and defined nose, with freshly cut grass, balsamic, serious, with pit fruit (peach) and a savory edge. The palate is medium-bodied, with good volume and acidity, balanced, with very well integrated wood, providing just texture, supple and with a salty finish. If you have to oak an Albariño this is how it should be done. The 3,000-liter vat was new in 2009 and then used in subsequent vintages, so you see how the integration is better each new vintage."
91 Points "This white shows real density, offering ripe pear, melon and tangerine flavors, with mineral, ginger and almond notes adding complexity. The texture is rich, but nervy acidity keeps this balanced and lively. Drink now through 2015."
92 Points "Fresh pear, nectarine, orange and honey on the highly perfumed nose. Pliant, palate-staining orchard and citrus fruit flavors show a suave blend of richness and vivacity, with a hint of anise coming out with aeration. Fleshy but dry and precise on the finish, with the orange and floral notes strongly echoing. For a luxury bottling this is a very serious, balanced, uncompromising wine, showing no easy sweetness or excess fat."
90--91 Points I caught the 2015 Albariño from Pazo de Barrantes just before bottling, but it had already been blended and clarified, and was in stainless steel to be bottled in the next few weeks. There is a slight hint of carbonic gas. In 2015, which they consider an almost perfect harvest, they have decided to release the wine slightly earlier; some 25 year ago it was released in September and most recently in June, and this 2015 will be released end of April/May; so they took that into consideration when they aged the wine to make it approachable early. 2015 was a warm, early harvest that also helped in that direction. The nose is very expressive with grassy aromas and very balsamic, mixing bay leaf with waxy apples, a little minty, with hints of quince and some white pepper. The palate is quite unctuous, in their style, perhaps amplified by the exuberance of the year, while keeping the freshness and acidity. For comparison's sake I also sampled the 2012, which could be a similar vintage; it is evolving really nicely and gaining complexity. 95,000 bottles should be filled in April 2016. The Rías Baixas wines from Rioja's Marqués de Murrieta have turned into some of the most reliable wines of the appellation.
90 Points "Pazo de Barrantes is a winery owned by Marqués de Murrieta in Rioja. Their 2014 Albariño is produced with the same philosophy as the mother winery and only their own grapes are used. Here the cooler 2014 is nicely balanced the riper style of the house. There are notes of freshly cut grass, white flowers and fennel with a vibrant palate and a textured mouthfeel, with great length and almost citric acidity. The fruit here is white rather than yellow, which to me is a sign of good freshness. This is very lively and balanced. The experience is that these wines age beautifully."
89 Points "Light yellow. Ripe citrus and orchard fruits on the deeply scented nose, with a hint of chalky minerals adding vivacity. Smooth and fleshy in the mouth, offering juicy tangerine and bitter pear skin flavors and good heft. Nicely concentrated and fleshy in style, finishing with good cling and a touch of bitter quinine. This is a pretty broad-shouldered rendition of the variety and would be well-suited to richer seafood; it would overpower most raw bivalve mollusks, which are the classic food match for Albariño."
89 Points "Leesy aromas of acacia, gardenia and lychee are a bit oily and heavy, but exotic. This is full, round and almost meaty for Albariño. Pithy citrus and bitter melon flavors finish solid and with chunky weight."
89 Points "Broad and firm, this white delivers quince, tangerine, quinine and blanched almond flavors, with good structure and grip. A bold, distinctive version. Drink now through 2015."
90 Points "Pale gold. Ginger- and mineral-tinged citrus and orchard fruits on the nose and palate, with a sexy floral nuance gaining strength with air. Fleshy and dry, finishing with firm cut and repeating minerality. This wine has the requisite heft to handle full-flavored food but it also has the vivacity to work with light seafood preparations."
93 Points BEST BUY OF THE YEAR "Combining freshness and power in a gripping white wine, this is youthfully compressed. The flavors layer peach and pear over grapefruit zest, the wine's creamy suppleness hiding the intensity of its structure. A vintage for aging..."
89 Points "Apple, pear and green-melon aromas are clean and typical for Albariño from Rías Baixas. In the mouth, this feels healthy, with leesy weight matched by firm acids. Flavors of melon, apple, green herbs and grass finish with a note of saline and sea shell."
90 Points "Intense, mineral-laced aromas of candied citrus fruits, quince and honeysuckle. Dry and precise, offering incisive lemon and bitter quinine flavors and a deeper note of pear skin. Closes silky and long, with nervy acidity adding lift and finishing bite."
90 Points "Light yellow. Complex, floral-accented aromas and flavors of pear, candied citrus peel, herbs and ginger. Textured but taut, with strong mineral backbone and a penetrating, spicy finish. This will be very flexible at the table, or it could be drunk by itself."
89 Points "Pretty to sniff, with aromas of lemon, fresh white fruits and minerals. Feels crisp, chiseled and racy, with blazing acidity propelling green apple, lime, green melon and saline flavors. Long on the finish."
90 Points "The 2010 Pazo Barrantes Albarino is a fragrant white that spent several months on its lees. Aromas and flavors of jasmine, lemon, and tropical notes are displayed on a smooth-textured platform featuring lively acidity, plenty of spice notes, and excellent balance. This lengthy effort will deliver pleasure for the next 3-4 years."
"Crisp with peach, fig, apricot, and apple flavors. Nicely rounded. Stylish. Full, with smooth texture. ...Among the best examples of Albarino in the market."
"At Marqués de Murrieta’s 741-acre Ygay estate, just outside the city of Logroño, the grapes are planted in a mixture of bush and trellised vines. Today, V. Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga, who took over the estate when his father died in 1996, is on a campaign to update his wines stylistically. 'We refused to change the identity,' he said. 'But we added more fruit to the wine, we release the wines sooner, we use newer oak and we leave the wine in oak less time.'"
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