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Hop on the Muga train

Situated in the historic Railway Station District (Barrio de La Estación) of the town of Haro in Rioja Alta, Bodegas Muga was founded in 1932. This is relatively young in Rioja terms, but Muga is undoubtedly one of the most highly respected Bodegas in the region due to their unwavering commitment to tradition, quality and the overall philosophy held very dear by the family. It’s wonderful to have these wines back in the GD cellar.

Dear Reader,

At Muga, when it comes to the wines, it’s all about concentration and elegance. It is traditional in Rioja to use American oak, but Muga adopted French oak during the 1980s as it imparted more elegance in the wines. The very best oak is sourced from France and barrels are then made onsite at Muga in their cooperage. No stainless steel is used at all during any stage of the winemaking process – for any of the wines. Muga has four fermentation rooms at the winery, containing a total of 90 wooden casks.

All indigenous to La Rioja, Muga produces wines from Tempranillo, Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan), Graciano, Viura and Malvasía. After a long wait due to the disruptions caused by the global pandemic, we finally have Muga back in the GD cellar.

Rather than putting together a mixed case together today, we thought we would simply share with you what arrived and leave the choosing up to you. Please do note, however, that availability on the Torre Muga 2016 is very limited.

Rioja Reserva 2017
R 430 per bottle

A blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano – all grapes are harvested by hand and once pressed, undergo fermentation in oak vats. The wine is matured for 22 months in 80% French and 20% American oak from Central Europe and America respectively. Once in bottle, the wine aged for a further nine months before being released to market.

‘’Vivid red. Energetic red fruit, floral and spice scents take on a minerally aspect with air. Silky, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering appealingly sweet raspberry and cherry flavors that show good depth and a surprisingly airy touch. Deftly blends power and finesse and finishes very long and smooth, with subtle tannic grip and repeating red fruit and floral notes. This is the only red wine that the Muga family made in 2017, such was the crop loss, which means that fruit that would normally have gone into their high-end bottlings wound up here.’’
92 points | Josh Raynolds for Vinous | April 2021

‘’…I had the wine in the glass for a very long time, and it didn’t stop improving…It has a serious palate with fine, chalky tannins and very good balance. This is a textbook Muga red and a triumph over the conditions of the year, elegant and balanced, approachable now and with potential to age. In 2017, they produced 936,000 bottles of this wine.’’
93 points | Luis Gutiérrez for Wine Advocate| October 2020

Torre Muga 2016
R 1,200 per bottle

Only 60 bottles available

This wine was created in 1991 by Manuel Muga, inspired by the wines from the Right Bank of Bordeaux. The vision was to be innovative without surrendering the identity of both the Bodega and the role of Tempranillo. It’s a blend of very strictly selected Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano. The Torre Muga is aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels (the oak specifically sourced from the area of Allier).

‘’Brilliant violet. Intense, spice-tinged cherry, boysenberry and vanilla scents display outstanding clarity and pick up smoky mineral and floral accents with air. Juicy and seamless in texture, showing excellent depth as well as energy to the red and blue fruit liqueur, spicecake and floral pastille flavors, which demonstrate impressive definition and back-end lift. Finishes extremely long and precise, with an echo of sweet dark berries and deftly woven tannins that add gentle grip.’’
96 points | Josh Raynolds | April 2021

Rioja White & Rosé 2020

The Rioja White is a blend of Viura, Garnacha blanca and Malvasía. The grapes are picked by hand and once pressed back at the winery with a brief period of skin contact, fermentation takes place in wooden vats and new, lightly-toasted French oak casks (oak sourced from the Nevers region). Following fermentation, the wine remains in the casks with a stirring of the lees for three weeks before being fined and filtered for bottling.

With regards to the Rioja Rosé, it is a blend of Garnacha and Viura. The soft salmon colour is achieved from a light maceration in the press for five hours. Fermentation is controlled at a cooler temperature to preserve freshness. Once fermentation is complete, the wine remains in cask for 16 weeks with its fine lees in suspension.

Rioja White | 2020 | R 235 per bottle

“Light yellow. Lively and sharply focused on the nose, displaying fresh citrus and orchard fruit scents and subtle vanilla and floral overtones. Shows sharp definition and spicy lift to the Meyer lemon, pear and honeysuckle flavors, which deepen through the midpalate. Closes long and juicy, with repeating florality and a dusty mineral flourish.’’
92 points | Josh Raynolds | April 2021

Rioja Rosé | 2020 | R 195 per bottle

‘’Limpid orange. Red berry, blood orange, fresh flowers and a spicy flourish on the expressive, mineral-driven nose. Lithe and penetrating on the palate, offering intense red berry and citrus pith flavors that slowly deepen as the wine opens up. Shows excellent clarity and lively cut on the very long, floral-tinged finish, which leaves a juicy red berry note behind.’’
92 points | Josh Raynolds | April 2021