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Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva 2015
- Great Domaines
- Wine Advocate
all ratings out of 100 points.
"This was a very long harvest (similar to 2016). They started at the end of August with the Cava, and they finished at the end of October with very healthy grapes, good yields and very good quality. The wine shows very good ripeness but without any excess. It has incipient complexity, still young and undeveloped but with very good balance between power and elegance, with fine-grained tannins and integrated acidity. This has to be one of the best recent vintages of this popular bottling. There are around one million bottles of it." - Luis Gutiérrez, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano
2018 - 2030
60% new oak, made in-house, for 24 months
As one of the greatest and most recognisable names in Spanish winemaking, it comes as no surprise that the family history goes all the way back to 1932 when the estate was founded. Still in family ownership, it cultivates a staggering 250 hectares of vineyard in the Haro region of Rioja Spain. Additionally, a further 150 hectares are in the hands of external growers, many with a long history of supplying Muga with grapes.
Vines range in age from all the way back to when the estate was founded, to more recent plantings. Variety and tradition are the key philosophies behind their success. A fortunate location allows three climates to converge: Continental, Mediterranean and Atlantic. Each vineyard benefits from its own microclimate, fertile clay and limestone soils. Although there is a focus on the great Rioja grape, Tempranillo, some Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano is also grown.
Tradition dictates how the cellar is run. Roughly 90 large wooden casks (ranging in size up to 50 000l) are used for fermentation, and over 14 000 (yes, not a typo!) barrels are used for maturation. Muga is one of very few bodegas that has a Cooperage on site. Three full-time coopers construct all their barrels as well as a “Cubero”: a specialist vat builder that takes care of their enormous fermentation casks. All reds are fined using the traditional method of adding egg whites to the wines. This forms a layer atop the wine, which sinks down and takes the lees and other impurities along with it. Nothing is wasted though - once the wine has been tapped out the mix of lees and egg-white is used to fertilise the source of the fruit it has clarified.
Muga straddles the modern with the traditional. All their wines show an excellent benefit from aging. Their Reservas and Gran Reservas take on a more traditional character, while the “Aro” and “Toro Muga” confirms the modern angle to this.
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