Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial
August 18, 2023, James Suckling
“So much dried flower, mushroom, iron, rust, sweet berry, and grilled orange. Full-bodied with very elegant and refined tannins that melt in the mouth and give a real sense of place and integrity. Balanced and harmonious. The finesse and finish is endless. Production was 30% less than in 2011. Already so drinkable. A wonderful future. This is the new 1934 or 1964, two legends. Drink or hold.”
The Cebrián-Sagarriga family, who in 1983 acquired the Marqués de Murrieta winery, established in 1852, has a distinct winemaking philosophy that is founded in the pursuit of quality and excellence through tradition and innovation.
Only the finest vintages from the 741-acre Ygay Estate are used to make Castillo Ygay. This Gran Reserva Especial is made from tempranillo and mazuelo from vineyards located at 485 meters above sea level. Limited in production and sought after all over the world, it is the worthy choice for the winery's emblematic Castillo Ygay label.
The grapes were first carefully destemmed and squeezed and then fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 11 days with daily remontage and pigeage processes to help develop the wine's personality. These processes ensured maximum color and aroma without producing excessive tannin. The tempranillo is aged for 34 months in 225-litre American oak barrels and the mazuelo is aged for 34 months in 225-litre French oak barrels. After blending, the wine remains 20 months in a concrete tank until bottling, and then three years in the bottle before being released to the market.
A full and complex nose with black cherry and ripe plum aromas, cloaking hints of tea leaves, cedar wood and Mediterranean herbs on a background of dried flowers. Well-framed and deep in the mouth, with polished tannins and full of nuances; harmonious and long-lived.
The grapes are manually harvested from an 80-year-old single-vineyard called La Plana, located at the highest peak within the Ygay Estate which surrounds the winery in the southern point of the Rioja Alta wine subzone. Bunches are destemmed and gently crushed, before being racked into stainless steel vats. Fermentation takes around eleven days, during which we pump over and punch down the cap in order to extract aromas and poliphenols slowly and naturally. The tempranillo was harvested on September 17-19 and the mazuelo on September 25.
Pairs beautifully with wood pigeon braised in red wine, cocoa, black pepper and Iberian ham fat; wagyu sirloin tartare, capers jam and soufflé potatoes; pil pil hake cheeks, codfish crispy skin and candied crystal pepper; Moliterno cheese with black truffles, sour cherry jam and Castillo Ygay red wine. Decanting the wine for 20 minutes is recommended. Best enjoyed between 64º- 66ºF.
Varietals: 81% Tempranillo, 19% Mazuelo
Wine Alcohol: 14%
Bottling Date: May 2019