As well as being the oldest winery in the new era of Rioja, being established in 1852, Finca Ygay remains the largest single estate in Rioja (Alta) with 300 hectares of prime vineyards. Current owner, Vicente Dalmau Cebrian-Sagarriga, Count of Creixell, has over the past 25 years in charge focused on updating and upgrading both the quality of Marques de Murrieta’s wines as well as the international reputation of the entire estate.
My last visit to the Finca Ygay estate was in 2017 after they had broken ground on their new wine cellar which received the 2018 harvest and will also take in the 2019 vintage despite the new layout only being due for completion in 2020.
With wine distribution now in 100 countries around the world, Vicente chose London as one of his first stops to launch the new 2015 Reserva Tinto and also preview their new 2010 Castillo Ygay, due for release next year.
Marques de Murrieta Reserva Rioja Tinto 2015, 14 Abv.
Grapes are sourced at the estate from vineyards located at 320m to 485m altitude with harvest starting on the 14th September and finishing on the 16th October. The 2015 is a traditional blend of 80% Tempranillo, 12% Graciano, 6% Mazuelo and 2% Garnacha. Grapes are destalked and destemmed before fermentation in stainless steel followed by 18 months ageing in 225 litre American oak barrels 7 of which are in new oak before being racked to 2nd and 3rd fill barrels.
A deliciously seductive nose of sun dried strawberries dipped in milk chocolate, ripe cherries and red bramble berries drizzled with balsamic with a subtle top note of mocha, cocoa and vanilla pod spice. The texture is plush and sensual, wonderfully elegant and fresh yet so supple and harmonious with the finest of powdery chalky tannins, sweet cherry liquor notes, strawberry confit and spicy vanilla pod oak notes on the finish. A really impressive benchmark expression of Reserva Tinto from a very good vintage in Rioja.
(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Marques de Murrieta Dalmau Reserva 2014, Rioja DOCa, 14 Abv.
A selection of the best fruit from a 465 meter altitude plot. The 2014 is a blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Graciano which was fermented for 11 days before 21 months ageing in new French oak Allier 225 litre barriques.
Rated internationally by critics from between 97 and 99/100, this wines reputation certainly preceded it. The aromatics are big and bold, packed full of dark chocolate, sweet black cherry and black current laced with cocoa powder and espresso vanilla pod spice. Seductive brambly black fruit notes fill the palate, punctuated by intense smokey black cherry concentration, piercing acids and layers of unctuous, hedonistic, opulent sweet tannins and glycerol fruit weight. This is certainly a very serious effort and possibly the best expression of the Dalmau blend produced to date. A seductive, thought provoking wine. Modern styled Rioja doesn’t get much better than this.
(Wine Safari Score: 97+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Rioja Tinto 2010, Rioja Alta, 14 Abv.
Castillo Ygay is always made from the grapes from the same La Plana single vineyard planted in 1950 and located on the highest plateau of the Finca Ygay estate at 485 meters altitude. A classical blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Mazuelo grapes that were picked on the 21st October. After fermentation, the wines were aged for 24 months in 225 litre American and French oak barriques.
The perfume and lifted fragrance on this wine are profound. The aromatics are more complex, nuanced and delicate than its predecessor 2009 with ethereal sweet violets, dried lavender, cherry blossom, kirsch liquor and hints of balsamic spice. The palate is more Burgundian than Bordeaux with incredible intensity and purity but also a lithe, delicate texture, weightless concentration and a long, sun raisined strawberry fruit finish. The tannins are like silk and the oak immaculately integrated already. While deemed “not ready” for release until March 2020, further time in bottle should only make this special wine even more spectacular. A real show stopper that is certain to take the world by storm. One of the best Ygay Tintos since the epic 2001 vintage.
(Wine Safari Score: 98/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
4 thoughts on “Marques de Murrieta Launches Their Spectacular New Reserva Tinto 2015 In London and Previews Their Castillo Ygay 2010 For the First Time…”
Good review Greg, but I must said that, in my opinion, the (relatively) new owners of Murrieta have let the wine down. Badly. Is not that the wines aren’t good.They are. But they have been bitten by the Parker bug and they have introduced a touch of American vulgarity into the refined Murrieta brand that seems unforgivable. I have drank all sort of vintages of Ygay Gran Reservas and Murrieta Reservas from the 1942 vintage onwards, and not only have the wines have become grotesquely expensive, but they have added a plushness and richness that, although pleasing, are at odds with the elegant Murrietas of the past. For years, a friend and I were trying to get the to sell us some of the whites they had stopped producing because they though they were “old-fashioned,” and suddenly, when the wind began to go against their Parkerisation trend (of which the Dalmau was the first step), the brought up from the dead the 1986 white at something like £500 pounds, even though I got bottles from the first batch they released for something closer to £2. And I am not an old guy. Also, these wines are tasty now, but they will never age as long as the the 42, 52 or 64, for example. Pity. Give me Tondonia any time.
Interesting comments. A few off the cuff observations… 1. None of us have tasted the old Ygay wines on release so we can’t honestly know how the newer wines will age. They have an extra plushness but they are well constructed suggesting they will age well.
2. Why are the owners relatively new. It’s still owned by the Count of Creixell who have owned the estate for a long time.
3. Dalmau was always meant to be a modern expression to appeal to the drinkers in the Parker era. A clever move to preserve some of Ygay’s integrity.
4. Yes, pricing is a sensitive issue. I can well remember the price rising 3 times in one year from the estate during the 2005 release. They tried to slow the rate of sale to avoid running out in global markets, but it only succeeded in alienating many consumers and still ended up selling out long before the 2009 was released. (Rose from £65 to £105+ in less than 12 months ex-cellar)
5. All wines evolve. I think nostalgia is lovely but even the great wines of Bordeaux have evolved in style and (probably) won’t age as long as the greats from the 50’s and 60’s. This is not something to cry about. It’s a fact of life. Nothing stays the same (well, except maybe Tondonia! 😉
I’ve tasted almost every Ygay red since 1925 and am not as confident as you that the wines won’t age well. I’ll let you know in 30 years time.
Good reply, although we disagree. Somewhat. Thank you. Yes, we will know in 30 years time. As for Parker, he has been as damaging to wine as Margaret Thatcher to miners. But that is another story.
Maybe she was just ahead of her time closing a polluting, greenhouse gas causing, archaic power source!? 🤷🏼♂️