Marqués de Murrieta didn't produce their top red in 2008, so I tasted the 2009 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. In 2009, the final blend was Tempranillo with 19% Mazuelo (or Cariñena), one of the highest percentages of Mazuelo ever. The grapes are now sourced from the La Plana vineyard within the Ygay estate, one of the higher-altitude plots at 485 meters. The grapes fermented and aged separately, the Tempranillo in American oak barrels and the Mazuelo in French barriques for 26 months, given its power. It has that seriousness, character and somehow rusticity of the Mazuelo, austere, harmonious and still young. It has good depth and concentration, still young and lively with fine tannins and a backbone of freshness that lifts it up. It will develop for a very long time in bottle. This is a great classical Rioja for the long haul. 109,000 bottles and some larger formats were produced. It was bottled in October 2014. The prices are increasing but so is the quality. The following vintages will be 2010, 2011 and possibly 2012. I cannot wait to taste them...(LG)
2009 was a warm year, a good vintage to increase the Mazuelo component (up to 19%) in order to ensure balancing acidity next to the rich dark fruit. This has been successfully rendered, the tannins hitherto tight and fairly chalky, but the structure warm and embracing. Cassis and blackberry dominate the fruit profile, then black pepper, cloves and even a hint of cinnamon providing a spicy backdrop. The finish is powerful but does not want for elegance. (SF)
A special Rioja that’s traditional, but not old-fashioned. Dusty, licorice and spice nose with red fruit. A cool and elegant wine, in spite of the concentration. Long, firm finish. Expands with aeration. From vines planted in 1945. Drink or hold.
The vines on the La Plana plateau, the highest point of the estate, at 1,600 feet in elevation, were 60 years old when faced with the heat of the 2009 vintage. The majority of this wine is Tempranillo, harvested at the end of September; 19% of the blend is Mazuelo (Carignan), harvested a week later. The wine has the richness of the vintage while the fruit holds its freshness, with tart plum and strawberry notes helping to shape all the flavor concentration. It’s a fat wine with attitude, packing dense tannins that last for minutes and need a decade or more to be fully absorbed into the fruit. It’s supple, heady and delicious now, and significantly more complex with several days of air, as it will be with years of age.
Black cherry, plum, clove, cocoa and mineral flavors are rich and harmonious in this polished red. Well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity keep this balanced. Shows focus and depth, but remains very fresh. Tempranillo and Mazuelo. (TM)
Garnet without being tawny yet. Everything is integrated and very well done, so it clearly has a long life ahead. It holds the fruit intensity. Very promising. Its fine texture is great, with complexity and forest-floor sensations. Polished tannins over layers of fruit. It is young for a 10-year-old! It has not yet developed any tertiary notes. Amazing potential. I am moved by it! (FC) 19/20 points
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