Wine of the Day: Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa, Spain 2011 6-20-16

Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa, Spain 2011 750ML ($24.95) Buy Now: $21.90 special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa, Spain 2011 750ML ($299.95) Buy Now: $236 special

muga2011Imagine you are sitting in the hot Spanish sierra, eating handfuls of cherries with ripe, tart and sweet frutas del bosque (berries) from a satchel that smells of spicy leather, with hints of fresh-rolled tobacco on your fingertips. A breeze carries floral notes under your nose, and suddenly you realize that you’re not in the hills at all, or even in Spain. You’re sniffing a glass of 2011 Muga Reserva, and when you take a sip its fruit-forward character unfolds alongside rounded tannins, warming the mouth and begging for a bite of cochinillo (suckling pig, a Riojan specialty) and for another sip of this classic-yet-modern Rioja red. Open another bottle, after indulging in a siesta, and continue basking in Spain’s unique cornucopia of vibrant flavors. This is a wine to enjoy regularly. – Daniel

Wine Advocate 91+ points “The 2011 Reserva is mostly Tempranillo complemented with some 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. There are no stainless-steel vats at Muga, so everything is fermented in oak vats and this wine is then aged for one year in new French oak barrels and a further year in used ones (three to six years old), fined with egg white and bottled. It is a Rioja that mixes the traditional and modern character with ripe fruit and contains oak aromas that are quite spicy and have some toast and smoke that should integrate with a bit of time in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied, has clean flavors that are balanced with sweet tannins. This is easy to drink, pleasant but not banal, and delivers a lot for its price. An impressive half-million bottles are produced of this wine, which is sold as Crianza in Spain and as Reserva in the rest of the world. Year after year, one of the most reliable and affordable Reservas.” LG