Established in 1852, Murrieta is one of the oldest and most respected bodegas in Rioja Alta. Their wines are concentrated and long-lived and some, like “Castillo Ygay”, have become legendary amongst wine-lovers. Marqués de Murrieta has not stood back and stagnated however; their 300 hectare estate produces Dalmau – a blend which represents an avant-garde expression of their terroir.
Within the 300 hectare Ygay estate, surrounding the winery in the southern point of Rioja Alta wine area. There is an altitude difference of 165 metres between the lowest point at 320 metres and the highest peak at 485 metres.
Grapes are first de-stemmed and then fermented in temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks for 8 days, with constant skin contact. During fermentation wine is both pumped over the cap of grape skins at the top of the tank (remontage), and also the cap is pressed into the fermenting wine (pigeage). Both these processes ensure a perfect colour and aroma extraction, without producing excessive tannin. Afterwards the solid parts of the grapes are pressed in vertical presses with double screws. This is a smooth and slow treatment that favours the extraction of the colour and tannins that reside in the skin of the grapes.
The wine is aged for 23 months in 225 American oak barrels, at least nine months in new wood. It then spends 12 months in bottle before release.
Grapes were harvested by hand September 30 to October 18.
Flavours of ripe plum, red cherry and berries blend with spicy notes of licorice and sweet balsamic. The wine is silky and well balanced with rounded tannins and refreshing acidity. The long, mineral finish has notes of sweet spice and ripe plum fruit.
The Spanish love their lamb, beef and - obviously - jamón! This is the perfect partner.
Serve at 16º-18º C. Open one hour before serving.
TIM ATKIN: 94 points. Tempranillo based, with a growing percentage of Graciano and some support from Mazuelo and Garnacha, it reflects the cooler, Atlantic conditions of 2014. Focused, pure and nuanced with scented oak, fine tannins and supporting acidity.
ROBERT PARKER: 93 points. The nose is subtle and very harmonious, with aromas of red cherries and some aromatic herbs. The palate is soft, it has a velvety texture with polished, round tannins, and there is a subtlety and harmony that is laudable
Rioja Alta, Spain