Castillo Ygay only declares a vintage in the very best years and has been made 14 times since 1934. As such, this morning we are delighted to release the 2009. The 2009 vintage in Rioja was a hot one, with average temperatures above 2003. However, in 2009 opportune rain fell throughout the vintage, providing the vines with sufficient water. As a result the 2009 vintage is considered to be high quality, a very good vintage. It comes as no surprise therefore that the 2009 vintage of Castillo Ygay has the distinction of being awarded the joint highest ever Wine Advocate score, awarded 96 points from Luis Gutierrez.
The 2009 vintage therefore promises a place in the Pantheon of great Rioja wines. Castillio Ygay is only declared in very good vintages, as can be seen by the table below. 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 Estate did not make the 2006, or the 2008, as such the 2009 will help to quench the thirst of the market. This is a truly great Rioja, from a great vintage, it can be consumed now, but age and improve for 50 years.
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 2009 is a blend of 81% Tempranillo and 19% 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.
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