The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

Nicole Linares: Rioja Road Trip – Day 13

Day 13 – May 14th

Rioja DOC LogoToday we headed to one of my favorite wineries, Marques de Murrieta and Finca Ygay. It was a sprawling rustic but gorgeous property up on a hill and the guide told us that for the past five years it had been closed to visitors due to construction and renovations taking place on the properties. We felt very special to have the chance to tour Murrieta. She took us up hill by hill to show us each of the vineyard plots and explained a bit about each grape variety and age of vines. I noticed some beautiful small white flowers and commented to her and she laughed and said, “Yes, they are beautiful but they are also the vines worst enemy.” She explained that these small flowers were an invasive species that took water away from the vines, so they had to be sprayed periodically. We then were able to see vines aged eighty plus years, so that was very special for me. We toured a very large vineyard and we all noticed a few helicopters hovering above. One came very close to us, inspecting us and we began to wave. Then, to our surprise, the helicopter began to lower itself and actually landed in the vineyard! The guide was very upset because the wind and dust that the helicopter blew aggravates the vineyards. After touring the vineyard, we headed to the tasting room. I was really excited about this because during our tastings back at the palace with Chip, these wines were among my favorites. The first wine we tasted was a Pazo Barrantes 2011, that had a brilliant gold color and a nose of white peach, melon and honey. The Marques de Murrieta imagemouth feel was silky with good acidity and hints of pineapple and citrus. I liked the full body. Next was La Contesse de Pazo Barrantes 2010, 100% Albariño. I tasted sea spray and a soft yet pronounced acidity and a long finish with great acidity. This wine would pair well with Asian food. We tasted a Reserva 2007, a blend. It had great fruit (raspberries and strawberries) with a medium tannin and longer finish. We tasted a Dalmau 2007 that had slight sediment and hints of tobacco and blueberry. It was a powerful wine with good tannin.  Next we tasted Capellania 2008 100% Viura, with deep, intense yellow and a nose of marmalade and slight oak.  It was a complex and surprising wine. We tasted a Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva 2005 that had a balsamic nose and hints of pine with a taste that was fruit forward with some spice and a lot of tannin and great acidity. It was a great experience!

Castillo Ygay Range image

For our second winery tour, we headed to Campo Viejo. I had their Cava before and I really enjoyed it, so I was excited to tour. We were given a really great lunch (Mediterranean style!) and we also were able to try a wonderful white wine

Winery of Campo Viejo

Winery of Campo Viejo

that was called Felix Azpilicuetas, a blanco fermented in barrel but with much more acidity. I really enjoyed both.  We started the tour and I really liked the architecture of the building. It was very modern and nestled up high so you had amazing views all around.  At our tasting, we tried the Cava that I enjoyed so much, only this time it was even better. Chip gave an interesting pairing: eggs and mushrooms! We had a Joven (young) 2011 which I thought was wonderful with most of the fruit flavor at the front of the mouth, but I still thought that it needed to mature a bit. We had a Reserva 2008 that had a nice nose of hazelnut and mushrooms and black pepper. It had high tannin, medium body and a spicy solid structure. We tasted a Gran Reserva 2005 that was complex, aromatic with a full silky body and a long finish. I commented on the fact that I was becoming much more fond of the Rosados of Spain and the winemaker brought out a special rose for us to try! It was a Rosado made with the sangrado method, a 2012. It had such a romantic color, a ballet slipper pink. I smelled pink grapefruit, roses and gardenia and tasted a bit of vanilla and ripe fresh fruit. It had great acidity and a velvety mouth feel.

After Campo Viejo, we headed quickly to Ysios. I was most excited about visiting this winery because as a lover

Bodegas Ysios

Bodegas Ysios

of architecture, I had first read about this one. No pictures could do it justice. It looked pixelated, a nice contrast to the massive mountain range standing behind it. It was supposed to replicate the mountains, but to me it had an aquatic feel, with the main entrance looking like the mast of a giant ship. I fell in love with it right away. At our tasting, we had the Ysios Rerseva 2006 that was fruit forward and oaky with hints of anise and licorice, pepper, cedar and some minerality. It was smooth, balanced wine that needed to be decanted. Lastly, we tried the Limited Edition 2007, which was full-bodied, creamy, well rounded with hints of coffee. It was complex and very expressive.

Later, we had dinner at Rosie’s and called it a night. It was a wine packed great tasting and touring day.

Journal written by Nicole Lindares

Nicole Linares is a student at the Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality, USA, an active member of her schools Wine Academy and budding wine writer

One comment on “Nicole Linares: Rioja Road Trip – Day 13

  1. Pingback: Nicole Linares: Rioja Road Trip – Days 14 & 15 | Magic's Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

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