Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial White
November 1, 2019, Simon Field, MW
“The Ygay white is a somewhat rare beast, its previous manifestations 1919, 1932, 1940, 1946, 1950, 1962, 1970, probably all still delicious. There is a strong possibility that the 1998 will make the cut too, but we will have to wait quite a while to confirm this. There were a very few cases of this wine from 1986 released relatively early, but the majority was not bottled until 2016, after a mere 252 months in American oak barrels.. The vines are the same as those which also gone into the Capellanía, in this case, however, the Viura is supplemented by 3% of rare old-vine Malvasia. The gold burnish is immediately seductive, a mood enhanced by the haunting complexity of the nose; verbena, truffle, white pepper, mushroom and quince to name but a few outliers. The palate builds upon the encyclopaedic complexity, all the while a shard of whistle-clean acidity running through the piece, perpetually rejuvenating it and underscoring bold symphonic development. It is not entirely fanciful to suggests that the wine is still a touch on the youthful side!”
May 1, 2017, Josh Raynolds
“The first bottling for this wine since the 1970s; aged for 21 years in oak casks, followed by another six years in concrete vats. Pale gold. Pear nectar, orange zest, beeswax, fennel, vanilla and honey on the explosively perfumed, highly complex nose. Densely packed citrus and pit fruit, candied fig and chamomile flavors are sharpened by juicy acidity and a jolt of minerality. Juicy, penetrating and sappy on the extremely long, spice-laced finish, which eventually leaves behind mineral and orange pith notes.”
October 20, 2016, James Suckling
“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. 8,000 bottles made.”
The Wine Advocate
May 19, 2016, Luis Gutierrez
“I have been terribly excited about this wine since I first learned that (part of) it was still in cement waiting to be bottled in September 2013. 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. I did a vertical tasting of many of the old, historic vintages of this wine, and they are included in a separate article in this very same issue. This 1986 had seen the light as a limited early release bottled in 1992 and sold around 1995, and some bottles might still be found in the market. But most of it remained unbottled and was kept at the winery, where it stayed in oak for 21 years, followed by some six years in cement vats until it was bottled. It has 13.5% alcohol, an extremely low pH of 2.98 and 6.75 grams of acidity (tartaric). It has a very subtle nose and it‘s a bit shy, a little closed at first. It was only bottled one and a half years ago, and it's not crazy to say that the wine is showing extremely young. The wine shows more open the day after, when it has developed some nuances of mushrooms and verbena tea. This is mostly Viura with perhaps a pinch of Malvasía Riojana (aka Alarije). 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. It seems to be getting younger and younger with time in the glass; it seems to be getting more focused and sharper, and I have no doubt the wine will evolve and last for a very, very, very long time in bottle. I kept the opened bottle for almost one week and the wine didn’t move one inch—no oxidation or any signs of fatigue. Having tasted many other vintages, including the also perfect 1919 (which is still going strong at age 97), I have no doubt we’re talking about a white for the next 50 years. Looking at the older vintages, I might even be underestimating its life span. The potential next release could be the 1998 in no less than ten years‘ time. Yes, I'm afraid, the price quoted here seems to be correct (but not adequate), but this otherworldly white 1986 has been priced in the stratosphere. Unfortunately, the speculative price tag makes me very angry, but price does not affect the score. The wine is simply stunning...”
The Cebrián-Sagarriga family, who in 1983 acquired the Marqués de Murrieta winery, established in 1852, has a distinct winemaking philosophy that is founded in the pursuit of quality and excellence through tradition and innovation.
The Ygay Estate is the biggest contiguous single estate in Rioja with 300 hectaresof vineyards surrounding the winery. The vineyards vary from 320 meters to 485 meters.
The bunches were squashed and then pressed in a vertical wooden double spindle press. Fermentation took place in 18,000-liter wooden vats. The wine is aged in wood for 252 months in 225 litres American oak barriques and concrete for 67 months in a concrete tank. The wine was bottled on January 29th, 2014.
Started in the first days of October with a very slow and progressive rhythm, which led to an optimal ripening of the grapes. The viura, the variety with bigger bunches was the first to be picked under perfect maturation, with 13% of alcohol and very high acidity.
Pairs beautifully with Iberian ham, stuffed capon, and truffled cheeses. Best enjoyed between 57ºF and 59ºF.
Varietals: 97% Viura, 3% Malvasia
Bottling Date: January 29, 2014
Aging: 252 months in 225-litre American oak barriques, 67 months in a concrete tank