As the label indicates, this 2004 Gran Reserva is truly “Especial”. In keeping with the generally strong 2004 vintage year for Rioja wines this one is undeniably great.
Marques de Murrieta was one of the two oldest, historical bodegas to put Rioja on the map in the mid-19th century, the other was Marques de Riscal. It’s also an estate wine with fruit coming from various parcels on their property just outside of Logroño.
Big, woodsy dark berry fruit aromas, really quite generous with a lot of fruit and earth, lead to a wonderful palate – rich and generous with a terrific future ahead of it. This Gran Reserva is marked by a healthy proportion of Mazuelo (around 7%) which thrives in this slightly warmer, drier (relative to the rest of Rioja Alta) area just outside of Logroño.
95 Points – Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:
The 2004 Castille Ygay Gran Reserva Especial has a delightful bouquet with scents of leather, mocha, freshly ground coffee beans and red berry fruit. It has a perfume that encapsulates everything there is to love about classic Rioja. The palate is a little viscous on the entry with hints of dried fig and dates. It is interwoven by a crisp thread of acidity and displays fine, slightly powdery tannins. There is abundant freshness and vitality: a Rioja speaking of its place with eloquence and clarity. This paragon of classic Rioja lives up to its evocative label. Drink now-2025+.
93 Points – Wine & Spirits:
A formidable, old-fashioned gran reserva, this has the grace and dynamism of great Rioja, powerful without weight. The tannins are precise, focused on Moorish spice, hinting at crushed black peppercorn and cumin. Long and complex, this needs bottle age to fully develop. It should blossom into a great 2004.
92 Points – Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar:
Deep ruby-red. Ripe red berry and cherry aromas are complicated by vanilla, pipe tobacco and potpourri. Fleshy, palate-coating redcurrant and cherry compote flavors deliver solid punch and pick up floral pastille and smoky nuances with air. The long, seamless finish repeats the deep cherry note and leaves dusty minerals and spices behind. This is delicious now but has the depth and balance to age effortlessly.
91 Points – Wine Enthusiast:
Starts out a bit flat, with milk chocolate and raisiny aromas. With airing it evolves and expands, showing snappy flavors of berry, raisin and brown sugar. Very solid on the finish and elegant as an aged Rioja gran reserva should be. Drink now through 2015.