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Flat front label of wine

Bodegas Muga Torre Muga 2010

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • RP95
  • WS92
0% ABV
  • JS96
  • RP94
  • WS91
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  • RP95
  • JS94
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Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's 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.
WS 92
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

Bodegas Muga

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Bodegas Muga, Rioja, Spain
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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.

Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. Wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although single-zone wines are beginning to gain in popularity. Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Baja produce wines with deep color and higher alcohol, which can add great body and richness to a blend.

Fresh and fruity Riojas labeled, Joven, (meaning young) see minimal aging before release, but more serious Rioja wines undergo multiple years in oak. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged around six months to one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two (plus three years in bottle), but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.

Tempranillo provides the backbone of Rioja red wines, adding complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, toast and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan) often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés.

White wines, typically balancing freshness with complexity, are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura. Some whites are blends of Viura with aromatic Malvasia, and then barrel fermented and aged to make a more ample, richer style of white.

Tempranillo

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. It is important throughout Spain as well as in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz and is an important component of Port wines and the table wines of the Douro region that Port calls home. California, Washington, and Oregon have all had moderate success with Tempranillo, producing a riper, more fruit-forward style of wine.

In the Glass

Tempranillo is often aged in new oak for the integration of spicy, woodsy, and herbal flavors, often with hints of vanilla, coconut, and dill. The grape itself produces medium-weight reds with bright red and black fruit aromas and hints of spice, leather, and tobacco, with no shortage of flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity make it extremely food friendly, pairing with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew, or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a system is in place to indicate on the label how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release, which is helpful to the consumer trying to determine the style of an unfamiliar wine. Rioja can range from Joven (fresh, fruity, and unoaked) to Gran Reserva (complex and oxidized from extended barrel aging), with Crianza and Reserva in between.

STC609221_2010 Item# 130599