A stately Spaniard


The Marques de Murrieta 2008 Capellania was recommended to me when Richard and I attended the excellent Wine Society tasting of Spanish wines in Birmingham on 5th November. Pierre Mansour, the WS buyer, claimed it had the hallmarks of a traditionally-styled white Rioja – a style I really enjoy. It is made from 100% Viura grapes with an ABV of 13.5%.

The deep lemon colour was tinged with green; its viscosity heralded by quite pronounced windows on the glass. The nose was initially sweet which developed into an oxidised, fino sherry-like style, then, three hours later, turned again to butterscotch. It was fascinating how this wine changed its characteristics.

The thick mouth feel was immediately apparent – as was the dryness. Yet it had an attractive, slight caramel sweetness that meant we could drink it without food but, on the other hand, would prove difficult to match. It may need a sweet, rich, white meat – lobster, turbot, monkfish would be ideal.

The following evening’s glass was just as good but with higher acidity – possibly suiting it by making it more refreshing. The colour had darkened considerably. Lovely with mushroom, walnuts, crushed tomatoes and pasta.

The Joyce Grenfell monologue, ‘Stately as a Galleon’, kept coming to mind. A beautifully made wine, (most definitely) but perhaps lacking a bit of ‘edge’, is how I would describe it. It’s certainly a keeper. It will obtain greater richness over the next two to three years.


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