Bodegas Muga Reserva 2005

Muga Reserva 2005After a good dinner and a bottle of Muga Reserva 1990 a couple of years ago, an older friend told me his philosphy on cellaring wine: stock up on the classic wines that age well, the kind of stuff that goes well with food, and you’ll always be happy with your cellar. Sure, buy a bottle or two of  big, expensive wines in good vintages, but concentrate on the mid range wines from excellent producers. Stuff like classic Riojas, Chiantis, lesser growth Bordeaux, red and white village Burgundy, Chablis, Victorian and Hunter Valley Shiraz.  Sound advice.

Ever since, I’ve been buying two Rioja Reservas in every vintage. This is one of them, the other is Remelluri, which is almost a national treasure in the Basque area and is set to move towards an organic operation with Telmo Rodriguez moving back into the role of wine maker with his sister looking after the vineyards. Getting back to Muga Reserva, it’s a typical Rioja blend of 70% Tempranillo , 20%Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo and Graciano aged in big old vats for 6 months, then into french and american oak for 24 months. While this clearly meets the Reserva requirements, in Spanish speaking countries it’s sold as a crianza…no idea why.

Classic nose of wild thyme and oragano, earthy cherry, mulberry and woody spices. Perfect balance between fruit and structure with minerally acid. Tannins that build and build to give a sense of contrast with the acid. The fruit doesn’t stick out, it’s savoury and fresh, it sits inline with the oak, tannin and acid. Purity, complexity and structure. The finish is long with the sense of clay, minerals and tangy red fruits. Just lovely drinking. Not as imediately rewarding as the 2004 now after a decant, but this is a long term wine, drink over the next 20 years. 93+ Pts.

Source: ?? Price: Around $60 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.bodegasmuga.com