Marques de Murrieta: Pushing wine to its limits

The historic family estate in Rioja, Marques de Murrieta, has spent 165 years “pushing the boundaries of the region,” following the release of its 100-pointer Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Blanco 1986.

Castillo Ygay white also retains the same label design from

“Our wines are known for their capacity to age,” said Joao Machete Perreira, the export director for Marques de Murrieta. “We are one of the top producers in Rioja but also one of the smallest. We have retained traditional winemaking methods since our foundation in 1852; minimal intervention but extensive ageing in barrel, concrete and bottle. We push our wines to the absolute limit.”

Murrieta’s Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Blanco 1986. is the latest release from the historic family owned estate; with the grapes for this vintage planted in 1945 in Pago Capellania and located at an altitude of 485 metres in the highest area of Finca Ygay, Rioja Alta.

A blend of 97% Viura and 3% Malvasia, and only released in spectacular vintages, it has spent 21 years in 225 litre American oak barriques and eight years in concrete tanks with the rest in bottle. Such extensive ageing has given it such structure and undiminished acidity that Perrerira said it could age “for another 50 years or more”.

It was also the first ever Spanish white wine to be awarded 100 points, with Parker praising its endless youth: “It seems to get younger and younger with time in the glass,” he said in his notes.

Perreira said: “It’s amazing, of course [scoring 100 points] but it hasn’t changed anything. It’s a very special wine for us and always will be. It’s 30 years of investment in a bottle.”

However, the win might certainly prove to be a game changer for Rioja – historically known for producing red wines – and to open up further opportunities for white wines to be made in the region.

“It’s certainly important for Spanish wine, for us as a producer and seeing what happens when we pushing the boundaries of what we can achieve in Rioja,” he said.

“‘ts not just about the vintage but what happens to the wine in oak. After 165 years we have refined our unique way of making wine so that they are approachable on release but with several decades left in them.”

Perreira also hinted at what the next release might be. “Currently we’re on the 1998 but as it won’t be ready for another 20 years, we’ll have to wait and see.”

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