The shoe is on the other barrel

Muga 1998 Rioja Gran Reserva “Prado Enea” (Center-North Spain) – People argue about the woodiness of this wine, and while it would be ludicrous to say it’s not heavily laden with coconutty, lightly-tanned wood, what makes the oak so obvious isn’t so much its quantity as its flashy upfront-ness, like a dish with just a few dashes too much of a freshly-ground and overly-aggressive peppercorn. There’s plenty else to note and like, including lush red fruit of the baked variety, apple-ish acidity, and dusty brown soil. And experience indicates that this wood will integrate…to a point. Look, it’s (quasi) traditional Rioja; there will be blood wood. I guess my conclusion, meandering though the path to it has been, is that I can’t really criticize this wine too much for being what it claims to be. It is, to be sure, nowhere near the frightening Torre Muga horror show. (6/11)

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