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MWG October 2nd tasting: Rioja faceoff

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Both wines were carafed and poured back into the bottles about four hours before we got around to them.

Rioja Gran Reserva 2005, Marqués de Murrieta ($39.00, 12259554)
Tempranillo (84%), Garnacha Tintorera (13%) and Mazuelo (aka Carignan, 3%). The grapes are destemmed, crushed and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for ten days with daily pump-overs and punch-downs. Matured 25 months in American oak barrels and 36 months in bottle before release. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Bergeron-les-vins.
Mocha with cherry, blackberry, dried fruit and sweet spice relegated to the background. Full-bodied, dense and velvety. Dark-fruited with a mineral streak. The tannins are plump, the acidity bright if cloaked, the oak pervasive but not cloying. Chocolaty finish. Lacks focus and dimension, especially depth, next to the Prado Enea. Popular with several of the tasters, some of whom bought bottles. Reasonably priced. (Buy again? Not my style but if it’s yours, go for it!)

Rioja Gran Reserva 2005, Prado Enea, Bodegas Muga ($50.25, 11169670)
Tempranillo (80%), Mazuelo (10%), Graciano (5%) and Garnacha (5%) from vines averaging 35 years old. Manually harvested. Fermented in oak vats with indigenous yeasts and without temperature control. Matured nine months in new oak barrels and 27 months in “semi-new” American oak barrels and at least 36 months in bottle. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Vins Balthazard.
A far more intriguing nose: the expected red and black fruit are joined by prominent graphite and animale aromas while spice, floral and smoky vanilla notes add complexity. Rich, concentrated and mouth-filling but not heavy. Acidity gives the ripe-sweet fruit an inner glow. The firm but unaggressive tannins are beginning to resolve. Vigorous chewing reveals real depth of flavour and structure. Oak, spice and leather colour the long, elegant finish. A sumptuous wine that’s just beginning to transition from the primary stage. (Buy again? To revisit in 15 or 20 years.)

“After these wines, you need to floss,” quipped one taster. Not that that stopped him from polishing off both glasses.

(Flight: 6/6)

Written by carswell

October 30, 2014 at 19:02

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

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