The wines of Bodegas Muga, Rioja

xThough founded in 1932 and regarded as one of Rioja’s aristocrats, the fame of Bodegas Muga today also has much to do with the support of Robert Parker, who has awarded scores in the mid-90s to many of their wines in recent vintages. Growing Tempranillo of course, but also Mazuelo, Graciano and Garnacha, the estate makes all its own vats and barrels, and covers what could be called “old” styles with its traditional Reserva and Gran Reserva wines, and modern, more “international” styles with its Torre Muga range. Torre Muga is around 75% Tempranillo, and is aged for around 34 months first in large American oak vats, before transfer to small Alliers French oak barrels. The traditional Riojas will be aged in American, or a mix of casks, fined with egg whites, and the minimum ageing requirements of the Rioja regulations are far exceeded across the range. Today, Muga is still a family run business.

Bodegas Muga (Spain) Rioja Reserva 2000
Fine, opulent nose, with lots of bold, deep fruit that is silky and plummy. Attractive edge of tart cherry and briary, truffly flavours to quite full, expansive fruit with background tannins and discreet acidity. Very good indeed. Around £10.99.

Bodegas Muga (Spain) Rioja Reserva Especial 2000
Lovely overlay of smoky, toast and coffee French oak here is distinctive. Lots of cedary finesse and a rich, chocolate and plum fruit. On the palate it is very finely wrought, with juicy, fresh fruit suggesting cherry and raspberry, and an in-filling depth of chocolate and smoky, plummy fruit. Again, the tannins and acids are subdued, but this is nicely balanced. Very good indeed/excellent. Around £16.99.

Bodegas Muga (Spain) Rioja Prado Enea Gran Reserva 1995
The immediate aromas are of spice and vanilla, but this is delicate and complex too, as notes of tobacco and dried herbs, and red fruits emerge. On the palate there is plenty of bright, juicy, cherry and fresh red plum fruit and again that balance as dark, lush chocolate and coffee notes emerge, playing against juicy acidity and refined tannins. Very good indeed/excellent. Around £18.99.

Bodegas Muga (Spain) Rioja Torre Muga 2000
Terrific finesse and delicacy here, as spices, toast and notes of glossy espresso beans are fused to a weighty sense of plush cherry and ripe black fruits. Lovely sweetness on the palate. It is silky textured and polished, with a gorgeous layering of plush black fruits, juicy raspnerry and cherry skin acidity, but a fine smoke, exotic spice and tobacco support. Tannins are gentle but add effective grip, and this has very good length. Excellent. Around £31.99.