Issue 251 End of October 2020, The Wine Advocate | 30th Oct 2020 | Luis Gutiérrez
I was really looking forward to the 2016 Capellanía, the white that inherited the tradition of long aging in barrel that used to be the norm in Rioja until the 1980s. It's structured, and they strive for aging potential while keeping some of the varietal character. It comes from a plot on the Ygay property that gives the wine its name; it's their highest plot at 485 meters in altitude. The grapes were picked the 3rd and 4th of October from the six hectares, and the must from pressing the clusters fermented at 10 degrees Celsius in stainless steel. And without going through malolactic, the wine was put in mostly new oak barrels, where it matured for 16 months, and then it was kept in concrete until bottling. It has 13.5% alcohol and very good freshness and acidity, and it comes through as very dry. They love 2016 as a vintage, to the point that they will not release a red Castillo Ygay 2015 (which was considered a very good vintage), because they believe it would be overshadowed by 2016. This is their oldest vineyard, and it seems to have a mind of its own. So, it doesn't necessarily follow what the other ones do, and in a vintage that saw a large crop, it delivered lower yields and they produced a lot less. The wine is still quite oaky, but I consider this a wine for the medium and long term (I'm still waiting for my 2004s!); but after a couple of hours in the glass, it felt a lot more harmonious. The palate is textured, rich and serious, with a chalky sensation and a long, dry and tasty, almost salty finish. This should make a nice bottle of aged white Rioja.
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