Muga Rioja Reserva 2004
Muga is a fairly traditional Spanish bodega from Rioja dating from 1932. Interestingly, they actually have a coopery on site that produces 1500 barrels a year from French and American oak. The Muga vineyards are located in the Obarenes mountains, on a series of terraced plots. The soils are mainly clay and calcareous, and are planted with Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo for the reds, and Malvasia and Viura for the whites. Interestingly, the white wines are fermented in new oak barrels, which are then used for aging the reds in subsequent vintages, before being discarded at about ten years of age.
The Reserva is comprised of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Mazuelo, and 10% Graciano. It ages for six months in large traditional vats, and then for 24 months in small oak barrels, and an additional year in bottle before release.
Unlike some of the other Rioja wines I have reviewed recently, this is made in a more modern and fruit forward style. However, this is also not pushing the alcohol to obscene levels or neglecting the pleasure of secondary flavours, and I think that this has good aging potential for a moderately priced wine.
The nose on this showed cherry, dark plum candy, baking spice, chocolate and earth. The palate developed over a pleasantly earthy backdrop and dusty mouthfeel and showed chocolate, cherry, red licorice/marachino cherry, and some subtle spice notes. This married nicely with a fresh basil and chorizo pasta, picking up the smoke and spice from the sausage well.
$35 at BCLDB