Bodegas Muga Torre Muga 2010
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
They say that legendary wines come from vintages which, in terms of climate, were perfect. Perhaps that is not the case here, lacking in snow in the winter and a bit short of warmth in summer to be considered perfect. However, this is one of the most perfect vintages in history.
The nose is attractive, with rather fresher fruitiness than we are used to finding. The balance, almost to the millimetre, between red berry fruit and spiciness from the oak, but still not fully integrated. The aromas display marked dimorphism: on the one hand, the fruit is complex, hard to define, and on the other we have the very sharply defined spices: black pepper, cloves, vanilla and a touch of charcoal minerality. The retronasal phase sees the spices, a little drier, gaining in predominance, but more elegant and much richer in subtle nuances. The fruit only comes back after a few seconds in the aftertaste where we again find red berries and something similar to ripe peaches and plums.
On the eye, it reveals more red than purplish hues in the meniscus and displays excellent acidity, boding well for a highly promising future.The wine closely reflects the growing conditions of the vintage and so appears balanced, full- and smooth-bodied, surprisingly pleasant and "well-behaved" on the palate given that it is still only three years' old and comes from a zone which normally needs more bottle time. That said, we can make allowances for a few small sharp edges in the middle palate which will soon be polished.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2010 Torre Muga, was one of the first new-wave Riojas and it has already demonstrated that it ages in a classical style (first vintage was 1991), but winemaking has gained much in precision since that first vintage, the different varieties are picked and fermented separately and you can feel a much more compact and balanced wine in recent vintages, with more subtle and better integrated oak. It is sourced from the oldest family vineyards blending 70% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano and 10% Mazuelo, picked and fermented separately in 2,000- and 8,000-liter oak vats, blended after malolactic and aged in new French oak barrels for 16 months. It’s quite dark, opaque and surprisingly aromatic (because I expected it to be closed and hard as nails) with notes of flowers, ripe fruit and some lactic, smoky and spicy tones from the French barrels. It’s a structured wine, with slightly dusty tannins, pungent and clean acidity, great balance, combining power and elegance. 40,000 bottles produced. It’s still a baby that will require a couple of years to show its true face and will age into a beautiful Rioja. Drink 2016-2030. "
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Dark purple. Powerful blueberry, cassis, rose oil, licorice and mocha on the explosive nose. Broad and sweet in the mouth, with potent dark fruit and floral pastille flavors complicated by spicecake and cracked pepper. Finishes with smooth, even tannins and outstanding persistence, leaving behind notes of licorice, floral pastilles and smoky minerals. "
Wine Spectator - "The inky color and muscular structure are atypical, but this red shows impressive concentration, with savory flavors of tar, tobacco and mineral that frame a core of cassis and loamy earth. Austere and dense. Decant. Best from 2016 through 2026."
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Bodegas Muga Winery
The Muga wine cellars were founded in 1932 by Isaac Muga Martínez who originated from a family with strong ties to the winemaking industry. On the death of the founder in 1969, his children Manuel, Isabel and Isaac Muga Caño took over the reins.
Two years later in 1971, they moved their headquarters to their present location in the traditional Station District on the outskirts of Haro. Bodegas Muga has continued to grow as the years have passed but it has never lost the spirit or aptitude of a family-run company.
The winery controls every step of the viticultural and vinification process from the vineyards to making their own barrels and fermenting and aging the wine entirely in oak. Muga is one of only six estates in the world that owns its own cooperage and they import the oak directly from the United States and France. Bodegas Muga is one of the oldest, most elegant and traditional Rioja producers. View all Bodegas Muga Wines
About RiojaView a map of Rioja wineries (ree-OH-hah) Spain makes some of the best Tempranillo-based wines in the world. Once the only DOCa (recently joined by Priorat in 2001), Rioja is divided into 3 sub-regions: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa. There are 4 red varieties and 3 white varieties allowed in the Rioja DOC. Tempranillo definitely takes center stage, followed by Garnacha (Grenache)), which is sometimes added for body, then Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan). The region also makes roses. For whites, the main grape is Viura (or Macebo), producing fresh, early-drinking wines. Malvasia, the grape that was once the most planted white, is found less often.
Notable FactsThe Rioja wine trade is somewhat confusing. Grapes are typically brought to a merchant's bodega from one of the 20,000+ growers in the region, or via a cooperative. The wine is then bottled and labelled by that bodega. Rioja's Consejo Regulador keeps track of all vineyards and bodegas to make sure they are following the DOCa regulations. Put in place to ensure quality, the system also controls prices.
As with the rest of Spain, the wine label may state Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, depending on barrel & bottle maturation. Crianzas are usually found within two years of the vintage and offer fresh, ripe wines. Reserva and Gran Reserva will be found a few years after the vintage, as the bodega will be aging the wines in barrel and bottle before release. Both typically show more secondary characteristics of spice and oak ageing.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.