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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Muga Rioja Tasting

Different vintages of Bodegas Muga's range of wines

Bodegas Muga was founded in 1932 in Rioja and is now run by 3rd generation descendants. The winery owns 250ha of land in the foothills of the Montes Obarenes in Rioja Alta and buys in grapes from a further 150ha.

This open-pour tasting covered a number of ranges and vintages.

Muga Reserva

Muga's entry-level range, current vintages retail in the mid-teens.

1970, 1976 tawny-port colour with old leather and rosehip fruit. Tannins fully resolved, acidity still fresh. In good shape for its age, but mainly a museum-piece curiosity.

1999, 2005, 2010, 2011 more ripe, plump fruit, cool mint and still some grip. Stand-out wine was the 2011 for its vibrancy; £15.75 BBR and Majestic.

Muga Reserva Seleccion Especial

1996, 1998, 2005, 2009, 2010 vibrant, intense and concentrated wines with inky dark fruit and suppleness. Stand-out wine was the 2009, decanted from double magnum for its intensity and muscular core.

Drinking nicely now, the 2010 is £20 from The Wine Society and Majestic.

Prado Enea Gran Reserva
Made from grapes grown at the highest altitudes, up to 600m - and only in the best years.

1989, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006 intensity, concentration and fine tannins; complex, lively and adept.

All vintages here were equally impressive; the 2006 is available for around £30 from The Wine Society, Majestic and Waitrose.

Torre Muga

A family disagreement over future winemaking direction led to one of the sons creating Torre Muga, a more 'modern' style of wine.

2003, 2009, 2010, 2011 pumped-up, heavily-extracted, over-oaked, overpriced and over here. I got bored of these by 2009 and couldn't face the more-recent vintages.

If you must have something a bit flash and in-yer-face, you'll find it in BBR and Majestic for around £50.

Made using old-vine grapes from the best sites, this is Muga's flagship wine - and priced accordingly.

2005, 2009, 2010 fresh, pure, intense and blackcurranty with fine tannins and a tightly-wound core.

2009 and 2010 are available at BBR something over £100.

The non-reds

Muga White Barrel Fermented 2014 aromatic, fresh and substantial; around £11 from BBR and Majestic

Muga Rosado 2014 elegant redcurrant fruit, pure and substantial; around £11 from Waitrose and Majestic.

The two Conde de Haro cavas (Brut 2012 and rose NV) were good enough, but essentially "wine with bubbles".
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