Perfect ten: Castillo Ygay white Rioja 1986
Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Blanco 1986, Spain
(c. £400, L’Assemblage, Cru World Wine, Brunswick Fine Wines or use Wine Searcher)
Sometimes, very rarely, a wine comes along that stops you in your tracks. Shifts your take on the world, almost imperceptibly, but a minor earthquake all the same.
This is one of those. Perhaps all the more special for being a wine with so much expectation (it’s been aged for 21 years in oak barrels! And then five years in tanks! It’s got a perfect score from the Wine Advocate! And look at that price tag!)
But then you taste it.
It’s almost infinite in its yeasty, bready expanse. Yet still sustained by a nervy, exponential acidity that elegantly coats the mouth and appetizes the tastes buds. It’s starter, main and pudding all in one. A breathtakingly complete flavour sensation, utterly compelling in its aromatic spectrum. Somehow still stridently youthful and vibrant despite its very apparent complexity in maturity. Fills not just your palate but your brain and your emotional cortex. It’s like an everywine.
The one, debilitating downside is that it is priced accordingly. Just like its beguiling but ineffable style, it’s destined to remain out of reach of most mortals. But we can dream, at least. (10/10, Peter, Sept 2016)