Marques de Murrieta has been producing Rioja wine since 1852. Here’s a look at two of the most recent (and highest-end) wines from this venerable producer.
2012 Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva – Surprisingly thin on first blush, with an almost watery character that washes away what should be some engaging red berries, touched with rosemary and rhubarb. Air actually helps things develop quite a bit, the red berry sliding a bit toward blackberry, with secondary notes of tobacco leaf, roasted meats, and some black pepper. The finish is a bit on the sweet side for a Rioja, but works well enough with food. B / $24
2007 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Rioja Gran Reserva Especial – This is the highest tier of Rioja, and this 10 year old bottling is the current release. Oxidation is beginning to have its way here, but let it breathe a few minutes and some of the more volatile notes burn off. What’s left behind is a surprisingly supple wine, loaded with blackberry, tobacco, and fig jam, with a smattering of herbs crushed on top. The finish seems some chocolate folded in as well. This probably would have been a bit better in 2015, but today it’s still a top-shelf example of what well-aged Rioja can be. A- / $90