Last night I had the privilege of drinking a Bodegas Marques de Murrieta, Castillo Ygay, Rioja Gran Reserva Especial 1978. I had never had a wine with such age and I was very curious as to how it would taste! The winery suggested decanting for 40 minutes before drinking. At 30 minutes we couldn’t wait any longer and decided to try our first sip. While flavorful, we were pretty sure the wine had not been decanted long enough. The alcohol in our throats was overwhelming and the finish was almost a bit watered down. I was getting concerned we had opened the wine at the wrong time!
We decided to let the wine rest for a bit longer to see if it would settle down and open up and boy did it evolve in only 10 more minutes! (I guess the winery knew what they were talking about with this decant for 40 minutes this!) All of a sudden the wine carried the alcohol well and had burst with flavors. The wine continued to grow over the next hour as we drank it.
So here is my assessment:
Color: Deep translucent garnet with a slight brown tinge
Aroma: Smoked meats, ripe fruit, berries
Palate: Full berry flavor, very smooth, lingering finish. Moderate to low, smooth tannins. Moderate alcohol.
Overall: Not my favorite wine ever, but definitely in my top 5 red wines!
Grapes: 75% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 12% Mazuelo, 3% Graciano
Harvest date: September 1978
Time in casks: 216 months in American oak barrels
Bottling date: September 1998