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1978 Mar­ques de Mur­ri­eta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva THE Ce­brian-Sa­gar­riga fam­ily has mod­ernised many as­pects of the busi­ness. No bet­ter ex­am­ple is the 1978 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva ($299, 94 points). Vega Si­cilia, ar­guably Spain’s lead­ing win­ery, is fa­mous for leav­ing its top wine, Unico, in oak (of vary­ing sizes at var­i­ous times) for up to 20 years. Well, it has (or had) a com­peti­tor in Mar­ques de Mur­ri­eta, for the 1978 spent 18 years in Amer­i­can oak. The feel is silky and sup­ple, with a fu­sion of spice, vanilla and bram­ble fruits run­ning through the very long palate. As with Vega Si­cilia and many of the older Granges, there is an el­e­ment of volatile acid­ity as a legacy of the oak age­ing but it is sim­ply a part of an amaz­ing wine that must have been awe­somely pow­er­ful in its youth. James Hal­l­i­day

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