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.”
Vinous Media: 92 POINTS
February 2019, Josh Raynolds
“(Aged for 19 months in new and used American oak barrels) Deep bright-hued ruby. Ripe cherry and red berries on the perfumed nose, hints of coconut, white pepper and rose oil adding complexity. Shows very good depth and energy on the palate, offering smoke-laced bitter cherry and cassis flavors that turn sweeter with aeration. Smooth tannins shape a long, penetrating finish that leaves a sexy hint of mocha behind.”
Wine Spectator: 92 POINTS
May 31, 2018, Tom Matthews
“This red has a lovely texture, polished and deep. The flavors are a bit muted, but reveal notes of cherry preserves, candied orange, dried herbs and vanilla, with light, firm tannins and orange peel acidity. Harmonious, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2026. 10,000 cases imported.”
The Wine Advocate: 93 POINTS
February 28, 2018, Luis Gutiérrez
“The blend of the 2014 Rioja Reserva is very similar to the 2013, 84% Tempranillo with 9% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo and 2% Garnacha. 2014 was a somewhat-challenging vintage, with warm and cold spells and some rain during the summer. The fermentation usually lasts eight days with pigéage and remontage, pressed and put to age in 225-liter American oak barrels for 19 months. This is still a little young and has had less time in bottle. It might need a little bit more time in bottle. 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. 900,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in seven lots between July and September 2017.”
Rioja Alta, Spain