April 2, 2020
The 19th Century Bodegas Releases Its Finest Since 1852. It’s The Most Important Release from Spain This Year – A Monumental Vintage Expression from the Traditional Rioja Patriarch. Plus the 30+ Year Old, Blanco That Is Regarded As “The Greatest Ever Produced In Spain!”
“This is one of the finest modern day vintages of Castillo Ygay. This is going to develop in the direction of the classical bottlings from yesteryear.” – Luis Gutierrez, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
First, and foremost, I would like to begin by saying that we wish everyone good health and positive energy in this difficult time. Like many of you, we are working remotely and doing our best to deliver you offers that inspire and transport you to another part of the world for a brief moment in the day. As we shared last week, the 2001 La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial was the first Spanish wine that Italian Wine Merchants ever carried, but it was quickly followed by another icon – the 2001 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva. Both are wines that have left many buyers saying, “I wish I brought more of that.”
Well, there is important news to share from Rioja if you are a true, traditional Spanish wine enthusiast and collector. We are now featuring what is arguably the finest expression of Murrieta’s Rioja Gran Reserva bottlings, the Ygay Gran Reserva Especial from the 2010 vintage. As a wine enthusiast, we have come to know that 2010 is regarded as one of the great universal vintages, and in Spain’s celebrated region of Rioja, the structured year challenges the classic benchmarks of 1994, 2001, and 2004. And while the iconic traditionalists of La Rioja Alta and Lopez de Heredia express a somewhat leaner, almost more Burgundian side to the indigenous varietals of the area, this reference point for the region, delivers a little more fruit, structure, and density to the wines, and does it with a sense of place or terruño (terroir) while remaining truly classic. It is arguably the finest Ygay Gran Reserva next the immortal 1952, 1942 and and 1934.
Featured Wine(s): Spain’s Most Highly Anticipated Release of the Year (Click to Order)
*indicates the wine arrives in May
For many enthusiasts, it is La Rioja Alta, Lopez de Heredia, and Marques de Murrieta (Castillo Ygay) that are the pinnacle triumvirate of what we consider classic Rioja. However, with a history dating back to 1852, Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay is the historic patriarch of traditional Rioja and it should be noted that the Logrono winery predates Lopez and La Rioja Alta. Their 2010 Gran Reserva from a single vineyard of 80-year-old vines represents a rare throwback to traditionally made Rioja, much in the same way that Giacomo Conterno protects old school Barolo through its Monfortino. It is the Ygay Gran Reserva that is the estate’s homage to classic Rioja and delivers more purity of fruit, less dill and rusticity than some of its traditional neighbors. This is one of the best values to appear in the Gran Reserva category and is capable of aging another three decades. Like Biondi Santi’s Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, wines from the estate have been tasted going back to the late 1800s and have managed to show brilliance.
If that wasn’t enough, we are pleased to present a small remainder of the 1986 Murrieta Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial – for what is Spain’s highest rated white wine. It has been called, “one of the greatest white wines ever produced in Spain, and the 1986 Blanco Gran Reserva Especial is a great addition to the portfolio of the winery--an historic wine that is coming back to life.” This special release arrives to us with an unprecedented thirty plus years of aging directly from the cellars of the Rioja patriarch in Logroño with perfect provenance! It should be noted that the wine is packed in original wood cases of three. Lastly, we are pleased to present the debut of the Bodega’s 2015 Finca Ygay Rioja Reserva. It is one of the great values of Rioja that has been declared as “mind boggling quality for the price” with last year’s release. Under $25, this wine once again overachieves and overdelivers.
Additional Notes and Reviews:
2010 Murrieta Castillo de Ygay Rioja Gran Reserva Especial
97 Points, Luis Gutierrez, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “I had very high expectations for the 2010 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial, and the wine delivered as expected. 2010 was one of the finest vintages in Rioja in recent years, and this blend of Tempranillo with 15% Mazuelo (Cariñena) has to be one of the finest modern day Castillo de Ygays. The grapes come from a plot planted in 1966 at 485 meters in altitude, the highest in the estate. It has greatness and finesse and is a very attractive wine with all the stuffing and balance that is needed for a long (and positive) aging in bottle. This is going to develop in the direction of the classical bottlings from yesteryear. This is one of the finest modern day vintages of Castillo Ygay.”
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “From the classic and vaunted vintage of 2010, this is one of the highly-anticipated releases from Rioja, as we do not see much of this Gran Reserva in the US. The historic Castillo Ygay is always made from grapes sourced from La Plana single-vineyard, planted in 1950 and located on a plateau at the highest point of Finca Ygay, at 485 meters above sea level. In the cooler and more classic 2010 vintage the Ygay Gran Reserva is a more finessed and energetic expression. The aromatics on this wine jump across the table and scream Spain. There is a purity of fruit that meets the savory side of Spain and you can expect to find, red and black fruit, dried berries, Asian spices, chalky minerality, tomato leaf, red fruit, herbs, it’s all packed in. Serious wine at another level. There is awesome depth and this is a wine that can please the Burghead, the ardent Bordeaux collector, and Rhône Ranger. And while traditional, it is not as extreme as Lopez. Old school wine enthusiasts will fall in love with this wine.”
2015 Marques de Murrieta Reserva
93 Points, Luis Gutierrez, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The red blend 2015 Rioja Reserva is 80% Tempranillo with 12% Graciano, 6% Mazuelo and 2% Garnacha, a little more Graciano and Mazuelo, something logical in ripe and warm years like 2015. It's produced with grapes from a diversity of the 30 different plots within the estate, to represent the character of if. It fermented in stainless steel and matured in American oak barrels for 18 months. It's spicy and somewhat balsamic, with some dusty tannins. It's a ripe and powerful vintage that only suffers next to the 2016 I tasted next to it when there's a jump in precision and finesse.”
1986 Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial
100 Points, Luis Gutierrez, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “I have been terribly excited about this wine since I first learned that (part of) it was still in cement waiting to be bottled in September 2013. I consider the rare white Castillo Ygay one of the greatest white wines ever produced in Spain, and the 1986 Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial is a great addition to the portfolio of the winery--an historic wine that is coming back to life. The palate is both powerful and elegant, with superb acidity and great length, with volume and sharpness, with a mineral, umami-driven finish. It fills your mouth, tickles your taste buds and makes you salivate. There is nothing negative about the wine; there is no excess oak, nothing blurry, nothing to improve... perhaps the bottle used! I think this is a perfect wine. It seems to be getting younger and younger with time in the glass; it seems to be getting more focused and sharper, and I have no doubt the wine will evolve and last for a very, very, very long time in bottle. I kept the opened bottle for almost one week and the wine didn't move one inch--no oxidation or any signs of fatigue. Having tasted many other vintages, including the also perfect 1919 (which is still going strong at age 97), I have no doubt we're talking about a white for the next 50 years. Looking at the older vintages, I might even be underestimating its life span. The potential next release could be the 1998 in no less than ten years' time.”