There is an undoubted trend towards wines with less obvious oak and more aromatic fruit, but I couldn’t resist recommending this.
Rioja is in some respects slightly confusing at the moment, with some producers veering towards a modern, rather ‘international’ style, while others are resolutely traditional. Well, this Marques de Murrieta Blanco Gran Reserva 1998 is certainly in the latter camp. On the nose it’s enormously oaky, but is balanced superbly by a rich, rather oxidised character. The palate is a similar story, with the addition of crisp, limey fruit, buttery full body and a long, long finish. In fact this note doesn’t do it justice – there is so much going on.
Tasted blind(folded) I suspect most drinkers would assume this is red wine, and there is certainly enough structure to match even the fullest flavoured food. It is is a mile away from the bland freshness of Pinot Grigio and, love it or hate it, you should definitely try it once. In my opinion Murrieta Blanco is one of the great wine finds. Getting as much character as this from a £10 wine anywhere else would be a real struggle.