Bodegas Muga is a Spanish wine producer located in the Rioja Alta. La Rioja is actually divided in three parts: la Rioja Alta, la Rioja Alavesa and la Rioja Baja. The later is the easiest to cultivate, the soils are rich and the climate is warmer… therefore the wines are in general less refined. The two first subregions however are the real deal. Like many regions in Spain, Rioja is mostly planted of the local variety of Tempranillo but they have started to replant other local grapes that have long been underestimated or underused: these are Graciano, Mazuelo (Carignan) and the most known Garnacha (Grenache). Bodegas Muga is a 200 ha estate and buys grape from an extra 150ha. Therefore it is an medium sized to average wine producer of the region (the estates in Rioja are rather big, Marques de Riscal sources from over 1 500 ha).
This Muga Reserva is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Grenache and a mix of Graciano and Mazuelo to finish. The ageing is 24 month in a mix of barrels from France, USA… then, according to the Rioja rules, it is aged for a minimum of 12 more months in bottle (this, contrary to the compulsory oak ageing is a very good rule).
When opened, the wine displays a very unpleasant charred nose. It is a mix of burned gum and charred oak, probably the smell of the slightly too long oak ageing. This imposes decanting. Half an hour does the trick. Then, this bad note disappears. The wine has a beautiful nose of black cherry, pepper and tobacco. There is also a hint of old wooden furniture… extremely soft and pleasant. The mouth displays the same harmony and somehow peacefulness. We find back the black cherry alongside a hint of strawberry and raspberry (especially in the finish). Spices are stronger and the black pepper brings a good balance. The wine is well integrated, not dominated buy the oak, with a very nice freshness. The finish is long, fruity. This is not a huge and fantastic wine but it is pretty delicious. I recommend it.
Wineops’ Rating: 78/100 ; 5 +