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Parker 99+ points : The 1945 Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva is from a cuvee designated R.M. (Reserve Medoc) and was made with over 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. In appearance it resembles a 15-year-old wine accompanied by a brooding bouquet of balsamic, Asian spices, incense, dried fruits, and subtle terroir notes. On the palate it reveals no age; lively, vibrant, layered, and concentrated, it is quite likely to outlive everyone born in the year 1945.
Marques de Riscal is one of Rioja’s legendary estates. Here tradition and quality go hand in hand despite the Bodega’s enormous production and a few minor tweaks to update the style. It was my privilege in May 2010 to participate in a vertical tasting of Marques de Riscal Gran Reservas dating back to 1870 at the Bodega. The corks from the ancient vintages were removed with Port tongs to prevent any contamination of the wine.
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.
Good quality vintage in Elciego, average in Rioja. 205 day cycle. Frosts in May and a very cool August. Scant rainfall, poorly distributed. In the Rioja Alavesa area some wines were very good.