Bodegas Muga is Rioja Alta’s premier producer and the Muga family are considered to be one of Spain’s most important winemaking families. The winery has practically legendary status due to its philosophy revolving around adherence to tradition, dynamism, and winemaking of the highest quality. Few producers in the world fashion wines that have such a sense of tradition and place as Muga’s. The wines of Muga have an absolutely distinct, unique, and inimitable profile.
Bodegas Muga “Selección Especial” Rioja Reserva 2019 – $62.95 per bottle – six packs. 95 Points James Suckling.
“Fresh and demure nose with lots of cocoa powder, blackcurrants, blackberries and a hint of cigar and charcoal. Excellent depth and class here with a very juicy center palate. Medium to full body with a long and layered finish. Drink or hold.”
The ageing process begins with six months in new French barrique, followed by two full years in older French and American (70/30) oak barriques. These barrels are aged and coopered on Muga’s premises. Muga was the first winery in Spain to have an in-house cooperage. The wines are racked throughout the ageing process and fined with fresh egg whites (cracked by hand) before bottling. The wine is aged for a minimum of 18 months in bottle before release.
Selección is only produced in top years and in varying quantities depending on the conditions of each vintage. The wine is the result of a strict selection of the family’s oldest plots planted on hillsides and higher altitude sites that have poorer soils. These conditions result in lower yields and higher quality fruit. In the cellar, vinification is similar to flagship Reserva bottling, but Selección Especial sees a higher quality oak treatment, longer ageing, and a final barrel selection.
Bodega Muga “Prado Enea” Gran Reserva Rioja 2015 – $84.95 per bottle – six packs.
97 Points Robert Parker.
“The most classical of their wines, the 2015 Prado Enea Gran Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano, mostly from Rioja Alta (Sajazarra, Cellorigo and Fonzaleche), but the Garnacha is from different plots in the zone of Tudelilla at high altitude. These grapes are always picked last, but the wine has a similar alcohol level as the rest, around 14.5% in a warm year like 2019. The modus operandi is similar to other of the top cuvées—harvested into 200-kilogram boxes, destemming, optical sorting and fermentation in small oak casks with indigenous yeasts. The élevage in this case is extended to 36 months, and the barrels are only 10% new. This is, year in, year out, my favorite wine from Muga, and in this powerful and ripe year, these late-harvesting vines ripened thoroughly and delivered a full array of aromas and flavors so that the wine has plenty of depth and complexity. It has a very classical profile, with incipient tertiary notes, perfumed, floral and rich, textured and beautifully balanced.”