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2012
Marqués de Murrieta Gran Reserva

The Marqués de Murrieta brand goes back more than a century and a half, making the first Rioja wine, produced in 1852. It was also the first Rioja wine to be exported. For many American wine drinkers, this was the first quality Rioja that was tasted, mostly due to its early importation into the American wine market. Long known for quality production, the winery continues to embrace modern technology along with an understanding of the terroir of their long-cultivated vineyards. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Ygay estate: 300 acres of vineyards surrounding the winery in the southernmost part of the Rioja Alta. Altitude ranges from 1,000 – 1,600 feet above sea level.

Region: Rioja DOCa

Varietal Composition: 80% Tempranillo, 9% Mazuelo (Carignan), 8% Garnacha (Grenache), 3% Graciano

Vinification: Grapes are first de-stemmed and then fermented in controlled temperature stainless steel tanks for 9 days with constant skin contact. After fermentation, the grapes are pressed and the wine is then transferred to 225-liter American oak barrels where it ages for 29 months before bottling. It then remains at the winery until release, several years later.

Tasting Notes: Aromatics include sweet American oak, with some vanilla, strong impression of red fruit preserves. Refined, balanced and elegant wine, with restrained tannins. Recommend decanting at least 30 minutes prior to serving. This complex wine merits roast leg of lamb, rich stews, possibly roasted game birds. Cheeses like Gouda or Comté would also be a flavorful match.

By Don Clemens