Marques de Murrieta 2007 Castillo y Gay Gran Reserva Especial Rioja (95+RP)

Marques de Murrieta 2007 Castillo y Gay Gran Reserva Especial Rioja (95+RP)

  • Size: 750ml
  • Item Code: 8411509055101
  • Vintage: 2004
$96.99

“A worthy follow-up of the 2007, the 2007 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial will be released in late 2015. This is a cuvée of mostly Tempranillo with the balance of Mazuelo (Cariñena), a very important grape for Castillo de Ygay in percentages that vary depending on the vintage, and it’s almost 15% in 2007. 2007 was not an easy vintage and in Ygay they had a terrible mildew attack and they lost 50% of the bunches. It’s a cold, rainy year, but because of that circumstance the wine is concentrated. This is still a baby, long and with depth and tannins that should melt in a couple of years. Compared with the 2005 it is fresher, perhaps not as concentrated, but for me the extra freshness compensates and puts it at a very similar quality level. And the rule of thumb is to wait at least ten years after the harvest to start uncorking any Castillo de Ygay. Cheap it is not, but very good value it is, for the quality it delivers. 110,000 bottles were produced. There will be no Castillo de Ygay in 2008, but there will be 2009, 2010 and 2011. That’s something exceptional to have three vintages in a row.” (RP)

Ratings and Awards

  • 95+ Wine Advocate

Rioja

Rioja is, without dispute, the best known Spanish wine region. Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) are the two primary grapes; these grapes develop beautifully in a limestone-rich soil and moderate climate environment. Over 60% of the wine produced in Rioja are “Rioja Joven” and meant to be drunk young. La Rioja Alta is a better known producer who focuses on Rioja Reserves and Gran Reservas.

Rioja prices have gone up but despite being a DOCa, the quality of wine is still quite inconsistency. If you have to pay the price, look for reliable producers such as Allende, Campillo, Marques de Riscal, Marques de Vargas, Montecillo, and Remelluri.

Spain

With 1,200,000 hectares, Spain has more land under vine than any other country in the world. As of 2004, data from OIV indicates that Spain has 35% more land under vine than Italy or France. However, due to harsh climate, historic setbacks, and past regulatory constraints on irrigation, Spain lags France and Italy in yields and volume of wine produced.

Spain is also the home to many varietals. Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) are widely planted. Grenache, planted in Southern France, is actually Spanish in origin. Other varietals include Viura (or Macabeo), Albarino, Verdejo, Airen, and Palomino and Pedro Ximenez.

Note there there are many local names for the same grape. For example, the massly planted Tempranillo is known as Ull de Llebre in Penedes, Tinto Fino or Tinta Del Pais in Rebera Del Duero, Tinta de Toro in Toro, and Cencibel in Valdepenas!

Spanish Wine Regions:

  1. Rioja Tempranillo and Grenache
  2. Galicia & Castilla y Leon Tempranillo, Albarino
  3. La Mancha Various

Appellation Classifications

Like France and Italy, Spanish wines fall into a similar quality tiered system:

  • Vino De Mesa: Lowest, most basic table wine category. Wine is often made from blended grape varietals and regions. No vintage date nor associated region allowed.
  • Vino Comarcal: Like france’s vin de pays, the wine is associated to a classified region.
  • Vino De La Tierra: Equivalent to France’s VDQS — a category down from DO.
  • Denominaciones de Origen (DO): Wine subjects to rigid regional regulations on grape variety, yields per hectare, alcohol level, and production methods.
  • Denominaciones de Origen Calificada (DOC/DOCa): The most prestigious category created in 1986 to further differentiate the DOs. There are ~55 DOs in Spain but only two — Rioja and Priorato — are prestigiously classified as DOCa.

Unlike Italy, Spain does not have a IGT category. To differentiate higher quality wine that does not satisfy the criteria of DOC (e.g. producers in the DO regions want to use a different grape or vinification method), a subcategory within Vino De Mesa was created. These higher quality wines are allowed to have a vintage year and the broader non-DO classified region on its label.

Useful Terms: DO wine must go through a certain period of aging time. Look for the following terms on the wine label to assess the quality and complexity of the wine:

  • Vino de Cosecha: Vintage wine, with >85% of the grapes harvested in the vintage year.
  • Crianza: Crianza means nursury in Spanish. The wine must be aged in oak barel for 6 months and in bottle for 2 years before being sold to public. * Riserva: Wine must be aged at least 3 years, of which 1+ yr must be in oak barrels. * Gran Reserva: Produced only in the best years, with approval from the local viticulture authority.

Tempranillo

Tempranillo (Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinto Fino, Tinto Madrid, Tinto de la Rioja, Grenache de Logrono, Tinto del País, Jacivera, Tinto de Toro; may be the Valdepeñas of California) Legend has it that Tempranillo was brought to Spain by French monks on pilgrimage from Burgundy to Santiago de Compostela, and that it is a variant of Pinot Noir. Scientifically, the resemblance between the two is superficial, and the likelihood is that it originated in northern Spain and spread through Iberia from the Rioja and Navarra regions.

Plantings have remained concentrated overwhelmingly in Spain, but the vine is also important in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz or Aragonez.It is thought to have been first been planted in the Douro Valley in the 1700s by Robert Archibald at Quinta de Roriz, and is a primary grape in that region and the Alentejo. One of the confusing things about Tempranillo is that it is known by a different local name almost everywhere it is grown.

The vine takes its name from “temprana,” meaning “early,” in reference to its trait of ripening quickly. It buds late and needs only a short growing season characterized by sharp swings in temperature between hot days and cool nights to preserve the fruit’s acidity.

A vigorous, moderately productive vine, Tempranillo is best suited to chalky or sandy clay slopes which are not too arid. The thick skinned, deep blue-black berries are high in color and extract but low in acidity, and moderate in aroma, sugar, tannin and potential alcohol, vulnerabilities compensated by careful selection of microclimate and blending with other varieties.

In Spain, Tempranillo is the foundation of the great red wines of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, in concert with Garnacha and Mazuelo, but contributes, as Spain’s fourth most planted vine, to the wines of nearly every producing region. In Portugal’s Alentejo it yields dry wines, but in the Douro Valley it is one of the six best varieties, with Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Cão, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Amarela, for the production of Port.

Tempranillo can produce wines of exceptionally dark color which are lush and seductive rather than complex, with intense black fruit flavors of black cherry, raspberry, currant and notes of plums and tobacco. The grape takes gracefully to oak contact, which adds vanilla and coffee nuances. Lighter versions are deliciously red fruity and soft. Also grown in Argentina, Australia, South Africa and Mexico.