25 years of Torre Muga

by  |  14-10-2019

Mid-October in Barcelona is still Mediterranean in terms of weather as summer clings to the days but is yet graced by a glint of cool air coming in at the fringes of the season. This was no better shown than by the Muga siblings all looking dapper and comfortably wearing sports jackets to present the 25th vintage of their Torre Muga wine from their family cellar, Bodegas Muga. Just don’t let the photo fool you as Eduardo (on the left) isn’t nearly as serious as the photo would have you think.

If you don’t know Muga, then you don’t really know Rioja as they represent a classic of classics in the Spain’s most well-known wine region. I don’t mean that they’re they oldest as they “only” date back to 1932 (Marqués de Riscal dates to 1858 for comparison) but they’re one of the most traditional as they still maintain their own cooperage for barrel making onsite and they manually crack what must be thousands of eggs for clarification of the wines. If you’ve not paid a visit, the next time you’re in el Barrio de la Estación in Haro (the ‘h’ is silent…) by all means book the full tour including any special tasting that might be happening at the “Espacio Torre Muga” which towers above the winery and was opened in 2008.

The lunch I attended last week was a quieter affair in Barcelona’s Marina as we tasted through several of their wines, including the 2016 Torre Muga which was first produced in 1991. Initially envisioned in the late 1980s, with longer maceration time and shortish barrel time for upper-end Rioja (18 months in French oak), the Torre was first released in 1994 and opened up new markets for them as it’s a wine that’s quite immediately approachable, full, and pleasing, making it ripe for success on the American market although the profile has evolved over time.

Admittedly, I was hoping the meal would be more about a vertical tasting of select vintages over the past 25 years but it was still a pleasing snapshot of where the winery is now which is honestly what really matters.

Happy Silver Anniversary to the Torre Muga and pleasant drinking!

Wines

Bodegas Muga - Reserva Selección Especial 2015
Super vibrant, minty, spicy, sweet vanilla, plump black fruit, plum and clove. Lovely mouthfeel, rich fine tannins, super long finish with red fruit at the end of it. Still integrating, but so open and approachable now.
Red70% Tempranillo, 20% Grenache, 7% Carignan, 3% Graciano · 14% · 27.50EUR
Region: Rioja DOC

93+ 2 Stars

Bodegas Muga - Torre Muga 2016
Red fruit driven in the nose, lightly confected at the moment with the alcohol sticking out more than would seem normal, rosemary, pine, crisp dark cherry at the base. Rich and creamy on the palate, ripe with well'defined dark fruit, lovely acidity, very fresh and still developing.
Red75% Tempranillo, 15% Carignan, 10% Graciano · 14% · 70EUR
Region: Rioja DOC

92+ 2 Stars

Bodegas Muga - Flor de Muga 2018
Fresh, crisp, nicely-defined red fruit, light raspberry and light minty notes. Medium length but carries well overall and continues to be a solid rosé year after year.
Rosé100% Grenache · 13%
Region: Rioja DOC

90 2 Stars

Bodegas Muga - Blanco 2018
Touch mineral and crisp white pear, tough of dried apricot, bitter almond, and light, old wood. Falls off on the palate. Decent lemon citrus notes but otherwise down in overall intensity.
WhiteMacabeu, Malvasia · 13% · 10EUR
Region: Rioja DOC

87 1 Stars

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