1986 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Blanco, Marqués de Murrieta, Rioja

This release of the 1986 Gran Reserva Especial Blanco spent a mindblowing 252 months in oak, followed by 67 months in concrete and finally 3 years in bottle before release. The nose is one of the best I’ve ever experienced - how is this 32 years old? It’s so fresh, while the texture on the palate makes you think this could be either red or white. There are notes of orange peel, cured lemons, lanolin and nuts (though it’s not faintly oxidised). It’s no exaggeration to say it lasts for minutes on end. It’s ethereal; otherworldly.

Critic score

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  • Region & country
  • Grape
    90% Viura/Macabeo
    10% Malvasia
  • Maturity
    Ready 2018 - 2040
  • Colour
  • Sweetness
  • Style
  • Unit Volume
    Bottle (75cl.)
  • ABV
1986 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Blanco, Marqués de Murrieta, Rioja


This is a triumph. An amazing white showing roasted pineapple, dried apple, flowers and hints of lemon curd on the nose. Hints of almonds, too. Full-body, closed and tight with amazing depth and beauty. Waxy, salty, and creamy. Goes on for minutes. 21 years in wood, seven in concrete and then about three years in bottle. First year since 1978. Viura with a hint of malvasia. I have the same mind-tingling sensation tasting this as tasting the 1964 Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco. Another perfect wine.

James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (October 2016)

I consider the rare white Castillo Ygay one of the greatest white wines ever produced in Spain, and the 1986 Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial is a great addition to the portfolio of the winery--an historic wine that is coming back to life... The palate is both powerful and elegant, with superb acidity and great length, with volume and sharpness, with a mineral, umami-driven finish. It fills your mouth, tickles your taste buds and makes you salivate. There is nothing negative about the wine; there is no excess oak, nothing blurry, nothing to improve... perhaps the bottle used! I think this is a perfect wine.

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (August 2016)