Castillo Ygay only declares a vintage in the very best years and has been made 13 times since 1934. Their most recent release, the 2007 is unquestionably one of their finest vintages to date, having been awarded 95+ points from Luis Gutierrez of the Wine Advocate. Furthermore, James Suckling has awarded it 98 points, surpassing the 2005’s score, running close behind the 100 point 1986, which trades at £2,750 per case of six. These scores place it in the pantheon of great Ygay vintages, scoring amongst the 1934, 1942 and 1952, which today, all start at £450 per bottle.
Each declared vintage is produced in limited quantities, 9,000 cases and is sought after the world over, yet, hard to source in older vintages. The 2005 already trades at £395 per case of six; it is completely sold out at the Estate. Moreover, the Estate will not be making a 2008 Ygay, leaving a shortfall in the market. The 2007 is stunning, one of the finest most commanded Spanish wines and a wine to buy in every vintage that the Estate ordains to release. Our price today of £270 per case of six bottles offers superb quality compared to older vintages and it is sure to re-position to £380 by the time of the 2009 release, the next vintage in the Estate’s chamber.
Marques de Murrieta takes pride of place in the pantheon of great Spanish wine and was one of two main pioneers in the production of Rioja. The Bodega was established in 1852 and produces a small but prodigious range that includes the eponymously named Marques de Murrieta and the truly great Castillo Ygay, which we are delighted to offer allocations of today.
Marques de Murrieta was the first Estate to fashion a Bordeaux style cuvee in Spain, through the monumental formation of ‘Chateau Ygay’. This helped begin the Spanish Rioja Reserva and Gran Reserva tradition of long maturation in large oak casks. This dialectical progression has seen the Estate originally as an innovator, yet now signifies the establishment of an archetypal institution. However, Ygay will never be solely axiomatic of Rioja as they continue to fashion the contemporary with tradition in a stylised Rioja that embraces custom, exalts terroir, yet preserves the vibrancy of Tempranillo, the genesis of this vision is Castillo Ygay: even the emblematic label reserves the old yet embraces the new.
Castillo de Ygay Grand Reserva Especial
Castillo Ygay heralds from a single Estate called La Plana; located 500 metres above sea level. The vines have an average age of 45 years with very low yields at around 1.8 tons per acre. The 2007 is a blend of 86% Tempranillo and 14% Mazuelo (Carinena), the latter can be a difficult grape but when grown correctly adds an acidic vibrancy that improves ageing potential. Since 2000 each parcel of wine is selected from specific plots, which marks another hint of modernity and marked change in the winery, one that has led to improved integration of oak and fruit precision in recent vintages.
The grapes are hand harvested, carefully de-stemmed and squeezed, thereon fermented in controlled stainless steel tanks for 11-15 days. Remontage, also known as pumping over, is one of the most aggressive techniques used to extract colour and tannin during fermentation. Grape must is drained from the bottom of the fermentation tank and pumped back over the top of the pomace cap. Pigeage, the French name for the punching down, is where wooden or stainless steel paddles are used to push down the pomace to gently extract colour and tannin. Both methods are practised to enhance the wines’ quality and ensure maximum colour and aroma extraction.
The wine is known for its wonderful complexity and fruit precision, displaying roasted flavours, plum, aromatic liquor notes, Spanish dried fruit, Asian spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, with high notes of lavender with a underlying integrity of minerality. With age (and this can be up to 50 years) Castillo Ygay can still display vibrant notes of cigar box, incense and our personal favourite, truffles.
Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2007, 6×75 – £270 IB, 98 Points – James Suckling
The aromas of this show an amazing freshness of flowers and herbs such as lavender, rosemary, and violet. Then it goes to raspberry, candy and currants. Black licorice too. A truly great wine on the nose. Full-bodied, racy and linear. So polished. It’s like a red ruby. 86% Tempranillo and 14% Mazuelo in the blend. For release in September 2015. Great length and future. Give it three years or so. Or decant two hours in advance.
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