If we have said it once, we have said it a thousand times, there is incredible value in Spanish wines. This value isn’t just seen in the lower priced wines, but actually manifests itself across Spanish wines at all price points. In my opinion, only France's southern Rhone Valley can compete with Spain’s value, more specifically the Spanish Rioja region, in wines under $50.00 a bottle. Case in point, today's featured wine, Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva 2016, always a terrific wine and a tremendous value.
In the 1980's, Rioja wines were reintroduced to the world, mostly pushed by more modern winemaking styles and the big scores given by iconic wine writer Robert Parker. Lots of winemakers from Bordeaux ventured south and made wines in the style they were gravitating to in Bordeaux, with much riper grapes and lower yields than normal. Muga certainly took advantage of this with their "Torre Muga,” a pricey, modern-style Rioja that received huge scores and to me, tasted more like a Napa Cabernet than an elegant Rioja. Most of their wines, like today's featured wine, are made in a very sensible style utilizing new techniques and traditional winemaking.
Founded in 1932, and one of the great Rioja houses, Bodegas Muga was established by the Muga family, who up until that point had spent several decades working as grape growers and negociants, in Rioja Alta. One thing I love about Bodegas Muga, the family has maintained a traditional Rioja winemaking philosophy for nearly 100 years, while also being willing to adapt, to make better wines. They are also one of the few wineries that has their own on-site cooperage, allowing them to make their own barrels. They travel to France and other countries in late fall every year, to purchase the oak they will need to make their barrels. In Rioja, oak is particularly important to the elevage of their wines. In an age where most large wineries are corporate owned, Muga is still owned by the family, and they control every aspect of the operation.
These are in stock at all of our locations with more arriving next week. This is one that you can enjoy right now or let it rest in the cellar for ten years or so. I am always fascinated at how well Reserva or Gran Reserva Rioja age! Perfect with a variety of meat dishes like pork loin or steak tips, and ideal with charcuterie.
“This is really tight and powerful with gorgeous tannins and solid fruit. Full body. Tight and composed. Wet earth, smoked meat and hints of black truffles. Very long and powerful. Wonderful length. Real Rioja. One of the top best-value, high-quality reds in Spain. Drink or hold.” - James Suckling
94 Points – TimAtkin.com
“One of the most impressive Muga Reservas of recent years, this comes from the area around the winery's cellars in Haro and is a cuvée of Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha and 5% each of Graciano and Mazuelo. Rich, deeply colored and well structured, it has bramble and blackberry fruit, scented 20% new wood and the freshness and balance to age well in bottle.” - Tim Atkin
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