Browse Tag


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)

Muga chaka, Muga, Muga

[bottle]Muga 2008 Rioja Rosado (Center-North Spain) – Tasted next to a more oxidized and much older Rioja rosado (yes, López de Heredia), what’s interesting to me is not the points of difference – lusher, more present fruit at a higher volume – but rather the points of commonality. The suggestions of oxidation (the pleasant kind) are already present, as are the pillowy minerality than will erode to something more skeletal with time. So many rosés from elsewhere are about sharp red fruit; these are anything but, showing more kinship with the low plains and valleys of the region’s whites than with the sultrier reds from which they’re varietally derived. (2/10)

Muga-chaka, muga-muga-muga-chaka

[vineyard]Muga 2007 Rioja Rosado (Center-North) – Seems gentler than it is; a fading salmon sunset with a surprising depth and weight to it, rich with old pinkish fruit, guava, and a bit of persimmon. Then there’s apple skin, which adds a bit of tannic complexity, and a finely balanced acidity, and a mild oxidation, yet the wine remains well-knit and beautifully formed. A sophisticated rosé. (1/09)

Muga-chaka, Muga, Muga

[bottle]Muga 2007 Rioja Rosado (Center-North) – What intrigues me about this wine is how it tastes like an aged rosé – not something most people drink – without being tired or yielding to oxidation, even though there is a touch of the latter. Strawberry, persimmon, perhaps a bit of cranberry…but all in well-aged form, rather than their bright, squirty, fresh-from-the-vine expression (as found in most rosés). Perhaps the effect could best be described as a slight intellectualization of pink. (10/08)