Bodegas Muga Seleccion Especial Reserva 2011
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
This is one of those vintages which is great to drink from the start without detracting in the least its potential for laying down for the future. These wines amaze you with their great flavor from the first sip, the seemingly precocious integration of the tannins, the freshness of their "Atlantic" features interwoven with the more mature "Mediterranean" character. If you look for the words to describe the wine we can come up with ripe fruit, without reaching the dried fruit stage, mainly small red berries and plums, followed by balsamic notes, especially mint and licorice, and then, right at the end, hints of spices in the pepper, clove and vanilla range gently coming through. In retro-olfaction spices like tobacco and vanilla make a strong impression. Then, very subtle milky nuances evolve, followed by noble leather. All perfectly integrated in glorious harmony. A very pleasant mouth-feel with the sweetness of fine lees, pastries and soft, noble tannin.
Blend: 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano
James Suckling - "A complex nose of dried strawberries with slate and white-truffle undertones. Hints of Spanish cedar. Full body, juicy tannins and bright acidity that follows through to a long, clean and earthy finish. A great wine that shows structure and complexity. Drink or hold."
Wine Spectator - "This red has a firm backbone and a solid texture, with harmonious flavors of plum, blackberry, licorice, cocoa and espresso. Concentrated yet graceful. Drink now through 2026."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Bright ruby. Fresh red berry, cherry, mocha and floral scents are complicated by suggestions of cola and vanilla. Intense black raspberry, bitter cherry and rose pastille flavors deepen and pick up a sweet hint of mocha on the back half. The lively, emphatically fruity, impressively long finish displays very good finishing clarity; dusty, firming tannins lend shape and gentle grip."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2011 Reserva Selección Especial, from a warmer and drier year compared with the average (as well as the previous harvest), has a similar blend as the regular Muga Reserva; it is 65% Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, and it was fermented in small vats with indigenous yeasts. The different varieties and grapes are fermented and aged separately, the first year in new oak and the second one in used barrels. 2011 is a powerful vintage for this cuvée, which now shows quite marked by toasty aromas. Warm vintages usually need longer in bottle to integrate the oak, but experience shows that it gets absorbed and in fact the evolution of this wine in bottle is very good. Even if the nose recommends to wait, the palate is very balanced, with remarkably ripe tannins for such warm year, which can sometime produce some harsh tannins. Not the case here, where the wine shows good elegance and balance. This is a very reliable cuvée, quite stable across vintages."
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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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