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. 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. In 1858 the construction of the first cellar commenced and the increased wine production required the facilities to be enlarged 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 first harvest in 1862 to the present.
Marqués de Riscal Reserva wines are made from Tempranillo vines planted before 1970’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.
Clear, dark ruby, with crimson glints against the light. Cherries, almost a maraschino character in the aroma, backed by subtle spice with an earthy whiff of older oak barrels. Bright and ripe on the palate, red-cherry fruit laced up with an acidic zing; tannins aren’t overly evident, but show up as a soft astringency in the tart, long finish. A Rioja meant for ageing, it will surely gain complexity with years in the cellar; but its bright fruit and easy tannins make it quite accessible now.
This wine goes well with ham, mild cheeses, casseroles which are not highly spiced, bean and pulse dishes, poultry, red meat, grills and roasts