2004 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Rioja Gran Reserva Especial

Year: 2004
Appellation: Rioja
Country: Spain
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 95
Vinous Media: 92
Wine Enthusiast: 91
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
Price :
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"This plump red bursts with plum, cherry, chocolate and toast flavors, framed by soft tannins and gentle acidity. A juicy wine that's just tipping into maturity. Drink now through 2016. 1,000 cases imported. " (WS)

"The 2004 Castille 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. Drink now-2025+.

One of the most famous names in Rioja, Marques de Murrieta was founded in 1852 by Luciano Murrieta, who was inspired by his three-year sojourn in Bordeaux. In 1983 it was purchased by Vicente Dalmau Cebrian-Sagarriga and presently, winemaker Maria Vargas oversees their portfolio that includes both modern and classic styles of Rioja. The 300 hectares of vines on the Ygay Estate in La Rioja Alta allows them to control the quality and within this estate they have singled out specific parcels for their flagship wines. I will start with the white wines. I must confess that I was alarmed by the amount of oxidation shown by the three vintages of Capellania Blanco Reserva that I tasted. Both bottles of the 2005 and 2006 appeared to be excessively oxidized to a degree that I will not pass judgement." (WA)

"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." (IWC)

"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. Drink now through 2015." (WE)

Winery Notes:
The Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2004 is a complex and elegant classic. Only the finest vintages from the 741-acre (300-hectare) Ygay Estate are used to make Castillo Ygay. This Gran Reserva Especial is made from Tempranillo and Mazuelo from vineyards located at 500 meters above sea level. Limited in production and sought after all over the world, it is the worthy choice for our emblematic Castillo Ygay label. 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.

The grapes were first carefully de-stemmed and squeezed and then fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 11 to 15 days with daily remontage and pigeage processes to help develop the wine's personality. Both these processes ensured maximum color and aroma without producing excessive tannin. The wine spent 29 months in 225 l American oak barrels, with at least 10 months in new oak. It then spent three years in the bottle before being released to the market.

The Tempranillo was hand harvested on Oct. 15 through 17, and the Mazuelo was hand harvested on Oct. 11. The grapes were then taken to the winery within a short period.

The Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial pairs well with red meats, roasts, game, cured ham and strong cheeses. We recommend you decant the wine 40 minutes before serving it at 18 to 19 C.