Marques de Murrieta, Reserva, Rioja, Spain, 2015

has a deep garnet red color.  From the first whiff you can tell this is a classic old world wine. Rioja wines have this unique mustiness, not in a bad way, that let you know you are drinking a special wine whose aromas and characteristics have survived the test of time.  Aromas of violets and plums emerge from rich soil that grows the spectacular grapes that give life to this wine.  As the Marques de Murrieta, Reserva opens, more smells emerge, toasted oak, vanilla, dark cherry and strawberry.  The palate has more happiness awaiting it.  The mouth experiences some of that old world Rioja that the nose enjoyed.  Red fruits dominate the front end of the palate with tart citrus hitting the mid palate leading to some nice acidity on the finish.  Tannins are present but don’t dominate, they weave through the palate and shine through the finish with a mouth watering dryness, leaving you wanting more.

Marques de Murrieta, Reserva is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 12% Graciano, 6% Mazuelo, 2% Garnacha and ages 18 months in new American oak.  Wines from Rioja really demonstrate a sense of place, terroir, you can usually pick that up right away, if you drink enough wine from there.  This is also a very food friendly wine; roasted whole chicken with herbs and roasted potatoes and veggies would be perfect.  Also thick pork chops stuffed with Iberico ham and Manchego cheese would set off sparks in you mouth with the Marques de Murrieta, Reserva.

It is always nice to leave the fruit forward New World wines and balance them with the Old World for a great sense of the history of winemaking and see where it came from and where it is heading.  This doesn’t mean a fight between old vs. new, but rather the difference between soils, grapes, temperatures, techniques.  In a word, terroir.

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