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  • Country ranking ?

    9
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    45min
  • When to drink

    Now
  • Food Pairing

    Slow Cooked Short Ribs

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1900 Marques de Riscal (pre-phylloxera vines; original cork; 60% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Graciano; aged 50 months in oak). Medium-deep red with some brick tones, but still bright. Cherry aromas on the nose, exquisitely perfumed and sweet. Medium-bodied, utterly smooth and silky, still remarkably fresh, a touch faded but by no means lacking fruit. The balance is excellent, with no trace of dryness, and the long finish has lift and freshness. Remarkable. 19.5 points Stephen Brook
 

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The Story

Marqués de Riscal Reserva wines are basically made from grapes from tempranillo vines planted before de 70’s, grown in the best clay-limestone soils of the Rioja Alavesa. This variety withstands oak- and bottle ageing well thanks to its good balance of acidity and fine tannin. The Graciano and Mazuelo varieties, whose presence in the blend does not exceed 10%, provide crispness and a lively colour. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature of 26ºC and the maceration time is never more than 12 days. 

Riscal reservas spend around two years in American Oak barrels, producing a wine which corresponds to the classic Rioja style: fresh, fine, elegant and very suitable for laying down for many years. Before release for sale it spends a minimum of one year rounding off in the bottle; time enough to show how much complexity tempranillo is able to achieve.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

The 1900 Gran Reserva had lain unmoved in the estate’s cellar since it was first placed there. It comes from pre-phylloxera vines; though the vineyard was mostly replanted from 1898, these vines were located on an isolated, low-yielding, high slope that remained ungrafted until 1904. Since American oak was difficult and expensive to source at the time, it would have been matured in third-, fourth- or fifth-fill barrels for 50 months. This super-centenarian zooms around on silver rollerblades. It is imbued with a constantly evolving bouquet of sous-bois, rose petals and maraschino cherries. Meanwhile, the palate is surfeit with vivacity, boasting wondrous balance and symmetry. Oxidation? After at least an hour, it was still going strong. This is a jaw-dropping Rioja that refuses to acknowledge the passing of time and offers as much pleasure at the dawn of the 21st century as it did at the dawn of the 20th.

  • 98p

It opened with a lovely sweet perfume – initially low key but round and vibrant. This luscious wine, made from grapes grown on pre-phylloxera vines since phylloxera arrived in Rioja only in 1898 and took six years to wipe out the vine population, already smelt like a 20 pointer! The palate was extremely rich and sweet too with strongly malty notes. Very dense palate with not a whiff of decay. Wonderfully complete. With amazing life to it considering its age. It was still quite a deep ruby with a broad, pale rim and the perfume just grew in the glass over a full hour. There were a few hints of coffee, a little bit of meat extract, but mainly richness and savoury concentration. At that time apparently more than a quarter of the vines were Cabernet Sauvignon (imported from Bordeaux by my fellow taster Luis Hurtado de Amézaga’s great great grandfather in the mid 19th century when he was a broker there). It is thought that this wine was kept in barrels for 50 months. This substantial yet subtle wine was still going strong even in the wake of the 1945 served subsequently.

  • 100p
Opened with tongs by a wary Luis Hurtado de Amézaga, Technical Director of Marqués de Riscal. The glass took several minutes to break because of its thickness - two or three times as much as a modern bottle. The original cork was in excellent condition. Extraordinary colour for its age, tawny rather than amber. An utterly beguiling nose – soft and leathery, but not at all oxidized or senile. “Fruit is not the word for it,” commented Luis. Less vivid on the palate but still in outstanding condition – spicy and sweet, with no hint of drying out. The nose continued to unfurl in the glass. There are just two-dozen or so bottles left of this remarkable wine at the Riscal winery, but “several hundred” of the 1945 and 1964. The child is father to the man, and what probably began life as an impenetrable and surly tannic monster has become a distinguished old gentleman - or even gentlelady. 1900 was a high yield vintage made during the initial onslaught of Phylloxera in Rioja, where it arrived in 1898. There is “at least” 25 percent Cabernet Sauvignon in this wine, with 65 percent Tempranillo and 10 percent Graciano. It was aged for 50 months in American oak – today, a Gran Reserva would be aged in oak for a maximum of two years. “I’m sure it was undrinkable when it was young,” commented Luis. Other taster wondered how much of this wine might have ended up in Bordeaux, as was often the case in those days. 98
  • 98p
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Information

Origin

Elciego, Rioja

Other wines from this producer

Baron de Chirel Reserva

Marques de Riscal Blanco

Marques de Riscal Reserva

Marques de Riscal Rueda

Riscal 1860

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