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Historical tasting at Marqués de Riscal (1862 - 2012) by Markus del Monego MW

 "A travel through time" was the subtitle of this "once in a lifetime tasting" at the Marqués de Riscal winery, starting with 1862, the first vintage bottled in Rioja. A tasting with priceless wines and a very emotional approach. The wines from the 19th century showed very young and fresh, almost a hundred years younger than they showed on the labe. Alreaday the first 10 wines showed that evolution and progress were important to the first owner. With his bordelais cellearmaster M. Pineau, in charge from 1862 till his death in 1909, the winery made splendid wines .

The series showed wines with complexity and length, a persistant but also slightly lighter style, which changed in 1870 with toward a more opulent approach on the palate, especially in 1870, 1871 and 1872. The series of 1873 till the mid eighthies of the 19th century showed a very homogeneous character with high quality and distinct vintage's character. The series starting with 1884 shows the similar homogenous character but on an even higher quality level. It seems, that 30 years of experience have started bearing fruit resulting in more concentrated, elegant and persistant wines. It seems as if nature knew the approach of the phylloxera crisis and showed in a last uprush the potential of this region at the last decade of the nineteenth century.  1900 proves to be a great wine, the last non phylloxera affected vintage.

This makes it even harder for the vintages 1903 to 1905 which have suffered partial phylloxera influence. 1907 is the first vintage where craftes wines were used and marks a different stylistic expression. The second decade of the 20th century shows the struggle after the phylloxera crisis but proves, that the quality started to recover soon. The twenties are gorgeous coming back to former glory in a crescendo with an exceptional 1924, 1928 and 1929.  Aromatically we find more parallels to the 1870s and 1880s than to the first two decades of the tenwtieth century. The change in quality might also have been influenced by the new cellarmatser M. Dubos who started his work at the beginnung in the twenties following M. Richard who was in charges since M. Pineaus death.

Where the twenties are generally more elgant and lacy, the thirties offer a more compact and concentrated character with some tremendously good wines such as 1936 and 1938. The fourties were a splendid finish with a stunning series from 1945 till the early 1950's on a very homoegenous and high level. The series of Barón de Chirel from the first vintage in 1986 till 2012 was another wonderful experience. These wines will have a remarcable potential for further ageing too and prove that the tradition of mature wines at Marqués de Riscal will continue. 



Spain's Rioja region uses wineries to draw tourists inland


 Walking by rows of oak barrels in the dark corridors of a winery founded by her great-grandfather, Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia is reminded of her childhood.

"We played hide and seek here when we were children," the 46-year-old said.

Today, together with her brother and sister, she runs the Rafael Lopez de Heredia Tondonia winery, one of the oldest and most famous in Spain's northern region of La Rioja, in the village of Haro.

"This is home," she said as she opened a black metal door leading into a storage room where spiders are allowed to live peacefully on their thick webs to protect the corks of bottles -- some over a century old -- from parasites.

Interior de una de las bodegas de vino en la localidad riojana de Elciego, cerca de Logroño, el 23 de julio de 2014

   It is a home that is visited by 22,000 people each year, who explore the vineyards and its     underground labyrinth that stores the 400,000 bottles of wine which are produced annually by the winery.It is not alone.

Located far from the beaches that bring millions of tourists to Spain each year, La Rioja has sought over the past decade to draw visitors to its numerous wineries, many featuring stunning contemporary architecture.

"It's great to discover a place like this, I did not know it before," said Bill Sherman, a 72-year-old wine lover from Atlanta, Georgia as he sipped a glass of wine in the ultra-modern showroom-shop of the Heredia Tondonia winery.


- Architectural gems -

Vista general del viñedo Márques de Riscal en la localidad de Elciego, cerca de Logroño, en La Rioja, el 22 de julio de 2014

Designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Pritzker prize, architecture's equivalent of the Nobel prize, the shop is a glass-faced structure shaped like a large wine carafe.

It sits in stunning counterpoint to the great-grandfather's old restored stone shop nearby, and is an example of how in the 2000s, before the collapse of a property bubble in Spain in 2008, wineries in La Rioja began to build architectural gems by star architects to help draw visitors.

At the Masques de Riscal winery in the heart of the village of Elciego, Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry has built a five-star hotel featuring huge titanium panels in his trademark curves.

The hotel -- which has 43 rooms, a spa offering "wine therapy" and an exclusive restaurant -- has boosted the reputation of the winery, which sells 5.5 million bottles per year, 70 percent of them abroad.

Before it was built the winery, founded in 1860, received around 2,000 visitors per year. Today it is close to 70,000.

Less than 10 kilometres (six miles) away at the Ysios winery gigantic bars of aluminium form a wavy roof, mirroring the mountains in the background, on a long building made of copper stained cedar that resemble giant wine barrels.

Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the building opened in 2001, the same year that the winery belonging to French drinks group Pernod-Ricard was founded.


- Wine before all else -

"The architecture is just the wrapping, the wine is what matters above all else," said the winery's spokeswoman Marta Gomez.

The wineries, or "bodegas" as they are called in Spanish, designed by big name architects have given La Rioja "great visibility", said La Rioja's regional tourism minister Gonzalo Capellan.

"Wine tourism is very much appreciated" by Britons, Germans and Americans, he added.

"We export 150 million bottles to these markets each year. They want to know us, see where this bottle is born," he added.

Today about 80 wineries in La Rioja open their doors to visitors, compared to just a handful a decade ago.

"This is a natural resource which we had. We had to turn it into a touristic product. This involved a huge change in thinking," said Capellan.

This change has not always gone smoothly, said Ramon Estalella, the secretary general of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Lodgings.

"We have sometimes built very beautiful hotels, charming, but too small for the investment to be profitable," he said before recommending that wineries seek tourism experts for advice on how to move into the hospitality sector.

Lopez de Heredia of the Heredia Tondonia winery acknowledged there was a lack of experience.

"In our house we were trained as winegrowers, not as a tourism company. We are just starting," she said.

While visitors to the winery are gaining importance, "they will never supplant the work of the vineyard," she added.

- See more at: http://www.marquesderiscal.com/storyeng.php?id=433#sthash.Y60KFlon.dpuf



Marqués de Riscal is one of the oldest Rioja wineries. Founded in Elciego (Álava) in 1858 by Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga, from the outset it has been a point of reference in the winemaking business at both national and international level.


La Catedral


Creation of the Marqués de Riscal winery, the birth of a dream


The original cellar was extended. This part is known as "El Palomar".





First bottled Marqués de Riscal Wines; in just five years the first prizes began to arrive


Marqués de Riscal was the first non-French wine to win thediploma of honour of the Bordeaux Exhibition



Production of the first Marqués de Riscal white wines in Rueda


Force behind the creation of the Denominación de Origen Rueda



Barón de Chirel, the first "signature wine", launched



Marqués de Riscal introduced the first grape sorting table in the Rioja appellation



First vintage of the Riscal 1860



Project 2000, a step into the future


Inauguration of the "City of Wine"



150th Anniversary of Marqués de Riscal



Launch of Finca Torrea and Finca Montico



Vinos Herederos de Marques de Riscal S.A. buys the Marqués de Arienzo Rioja appellation label

2011 Marqués de Riscal gets recognized as one of the 10 World´s Most Admired Wine Brands (Drinks International)
2011  Transformation of the 1883 wine cellar, one of our oldest wine cellars, into a space equipped with the latest technology. The idea is to combine the charm of this 19th century space with the most modern machinery
2011 Marqués de Riscal holds an historical auction in Beijing (China)
of 100 vintages dating from 1862 to 2005
  2011 The Marqués de Riscal Restaurant receives its first Michelin Star


Marqués de Riscal, its philosophy


Throughout its history, Marqués de Riscal has always been an innovating, pioneering cellar and reference in a constantly changing winemaking sector. We seek to make wines which are original, fresh, elegant and easy to drink. Since the beginning we have always had a clear vocation for exporting.





The grapes used to make Marqués de Riscal wines are grown in 1,500 ha. spread between Elciego and neighbouring villages such as Leza, Laguardia or Villabuena.The poor soils, from the different terraces over the river Ebro, are of the chalky clay kind. This sub zone of the Rioja Alavesa has traditionally been best known for producing wines with good ageing potential, thanks to the high acidity and good tannin structure of the musts obtained.


  • 500 Ha of our own Tempranillo, Graciano, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mazuelo vines.
  • 985 Ha of external vineyards controlled by the cellar





Grape Varieties:

Tempranillo: predominant variety with a short growing cycle and delicate cultivation.

Graciano: late-ripening variety with a long growth cycle, hardy and high-yielding.

Mazuelo: minority variety in recession, late-ripening and hardy.

Cabernet Sauvignon: As well as the rest of the varieties, Marqués de Riscal has cultivated this variety since 1858, the year of its foundation. With a long cycle, hardy character and marked varietal character.


 Cellar D.O. Ca. Rioja - Elciego (Álava)

In 1858 the construction of the first cellar commenced and the increased wineproduction required the facilities to beenlarged in 1883. Further extensions followed in 1968 and 2000.

Inside the original (1860) cellar is the Cathedral, a unique collection made up of bottles from every vintage produced by the winery since the very firstharvest in 1862 to the present.



6 different wines with 204 vintages


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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Huizi Zeng, Wine Writer (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Vega Sicilia Unico 2011 /Singed tobacco leaf and savory aromas lead the way, giving this red a distinctive profile, while dark currant, fig and blackberry paste flavors form the core. Shows a loamy backdrop and a hint of cast iron throughout, with the fruit and savory elements keeping pace. Ends with prominent tannic grip. 

1y 2m ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Château d´Yquem 2005 / Yield of 12 hl/ha – almost record high levels! Quite deep gold. Wonderfully deep nose – never smelt anything as intense and glorious as this! Extraordinary!!! Deep yet lively. Exciting depth of pear juice and zest – tangerine peel too. Great astringency. 2001 was more concentrated. This is more transparent. Lovely dancing stuff, but already in the super-nuanced Yquem idiom. Lighter than some vintages but with great lacy complexity. Wonderful green, lively notes and some real explosiveness – 13.5 per cent. Energy drink! Coiled like a taut spring.

2y 11m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  16 wines 

Some lunch wines in a beautifull city of Tallinna!

3y 5m ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  12 wines 

Château d' Yquem 1811 / A quite amazing wine, served blind with 1831, 1911 and 1931 it was the most intense, yet least evolved of the lot. Deep amber with green gold rim. So vibrant and multilayered on the nose, it smelt as though it was just starting to unfold, yet was utterly convincing about the treasures it had yet to give up. Spicy and rich and so, so piercingly clean. Racy, long piercing essence of cream and spice. Very, very powerful, long and complete. After 40 minutes in the glass it took on a hint of rum toffees which is not a flavour I happen to like (c.f. the greater delicacy of the 1847) but that is the only criticism I could possibly muster. This is presumably a one-off and probably deserves an even higher ranking than the 1847. 25 and still a great deal to give. I hope very much to have a chance to taste it again before I die.

3y 9m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  18 wines 

What do you normally drink on holiday in Spain - nothing good, unfortunately, even I tried my best.

4y 7m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  100 wines 

1928 Château d'Yquem; Huge expectations, the best wine I've had, 28 Suduiraut, if there is a wine to beat it..... Difficult to read label, cork states quite clearly Yquem, Lur-Saluces, 1928. B/C level fill, above mid shoulders. Pale amber with broad green yellow rim. Nuts, apricots, apple, lemon, raisins, minerals and even schistes. A glorious, layered and transparent in the best sence of the word mix of mature and more youthfull flavours. Perfect balance in a different league, great acidity, such finesse, pineapples comming to join the elegant party, even coconut and papaya, acidity is tender, doing its job gracefully like the queen greeting her guests. Gorgeous length. Minutes again. But this bottle do not beat the Suduiraut, and that is mainly because of the Suduirauts length and even better freshness. The 28's seems to be marvels! 99

4y 10m ago

 Jan-Erik Paulson / rare-Wine.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  25 wines 

This was definitely the most amazing dinner I had the pleasure to attend this year. 30 wines from 1947.
2 bottlings of Pétrus and 5 bottles of Cheval Blanc.

Thank you Robert.
My favorites were Cheval Blanc, Pétrus, Mouton and Margaux.

5y 2d ago

 Jan-Erik Paulson / rare-Wine.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  12 wines 

What a great evening. Fantastic food, sensational winnes and fabulous company.
I am a very lucky person to have friends like this.

5y 11m ago

 Tuomas Meriluoto MW, MW (Finland)  tasted  10 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  10 wines 

“Marqués de Riscal is one of the oldest Rioja wineries. Founded in Elciego (Álava) in 1858 by Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga, from the outset it has been a point of reference in the winemaking business at both national and international level.”

6y 1m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  7 wines 

“Evening with John Kapon on the Finnish War Ship at Baltic Sea.”

6y 2m ago

 Tuomas Meriluoto MW, MW (Finland)  tasted  9 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  9 wines 

“Marqués de Riscal Gran Reserva tasting from 1910 to 2010 -50 vintages from 100 hundreds years. ”

6y 3m ago

 Tuomas Meriluoto MW, MW (Finland)  tasted  10 wines  from  Marqués de Riscal . In a tasting of  10 wines 

“100 years of Marques de Riscal from 1910 to 2010. 51 vintages tasted. My favourites; 1922, 1960, 1963, 1989 & 2004””

6y 5m ago

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