2011 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja

SKU #1294431 95 points James Suckling

 A complex nose of dried strawberries with slate and white-truffle undertones. Hints of Spanish cedar. Full body, juicy tannins and bright acidity that follows through to a long, clean and earthy finish. A great wine that shows structure and complexity. Drink or hold.  (12/2016)

93 points Vinous

 (aged for 26 months in French oak casks) Bright ruby. Fresh red berry, cherry, mocha and floral scents are complicated by suggestions of cola and vanilla. Intense black raspberry, bitter cherry and rose pastille flavors deepen and pick up a sweet hint of mocha on the back half. The lively, emphatically fruity, impressively long finish displays very good finishing clarity; dusty, firming tannins lend shape and gentle grip. (JR)  (1/2017)

93 points Wine Spectator

 This red has a firm backbone and a solid texture, with harmonious flavors of plum, blackberry, licorice, cocoa and espresso. Concentrated yet graceful, showing alluring mineral and floral notes on the finish. Drink now through 2026. (TM)  (3/2017)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2011 Reserva Selección Especial, from a warmer and drier year compared with the average (as well as the previous harvest), has a similar blend as the regular Muga Reserva; it is 65% Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, and it was fermented in small vats with indigenous yeasts. The different varieties and grapes are fermented and aged separately, the first year in new oak and the second one in used barrels. 2011 is a powerful vintage for this cuvée, which now shows quite marked by toasty aromas. Warm vintages usually need longer in bottle to integrate the oak, but experience shows that it gets absorbed and in fact the evolution of this wine in bottle is very good. Even if the nose recommends to wait, the palate is very balanced, with remarkably ripe tannins for such warm year, which can sometime produce some harsh tannins. Not the case here, where the wine shows good elegance and balance. This is a very reliable cuvée, quite stable across vintages. (LG)  (8/2016)

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By: Alex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/17/2017 | Send Email
Muga is one of the quintessential Rioja producers and this 2011 dishes up classic Tempranillo flavor in a style that should appeal to just about anyone. The balance of fruit, earth, fine tannins, and cocoa remind me of all the flavors I love in Cabernet as well, making the Muga a potential crossover Spanish option for California or Bordeaux lovers who want to try something new. You'll be impressed.

By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/7/2017 | Send Email
This Muga offers up an incredible richness and expression and is in my opinion one of the best Riojas in the store. The palate and rich and fruity while the oak adds structure and depth to help round out the wine. The fruit is juicy and deep and is highlighted by some bright acidity that helps balance tannins. This wine has some great weight, not too ripe or grippy, but eloquent and striking. Don't miss this.

By: Rachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/7/2017 | Send Email
I have a new obsession with Riojas and this Muga is bringing me in deeper. The prominent nose is filled with fresh red fruit, baking spice and dry earth. The smooth but impactful structure is elongated on the side palate with flavors that match the nose. A mix of dried herbs and deep, engulfing fruit adds a vivid strength to the finish. This is a gorgeous food wine that is easily enjoyed now!

By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/6/2017 | Send Email
Deeply concentrated nose of dark cherries, boysenberries, cedar, and stone. The palate is expansive, both bright and complex. It shows layered notes of cola, cherry, blueberry, mocha, cedar box, tremendous minerality and length. The finish is dry, with slightly dusty tannin but lengthy. It definitely leaves you wanting another sip, and perhaps a bite of a succulent roast. If you're not familiar with the incredible value that Muga has to offer - this is the place to start. This is a hugely versatile wine that would make a great cocktail party or complement your favorite meal - not to mention convert all your friends to Spanish wine lovers.

By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/6/2017 | Send Email
When I think back to the first great red wines I tasted in my early twenties - the wines that would ultimately shape my palate and send me into the wine business - the reserva Riojas from Muga might have been the most influential. Not only were the flavors rich, robust, textural, and complex, they were within reach of my limit budget back then. There was no way I could ever splurge on a $150 bottle with my elementary school teacher salary at the time, but I did find a way to scrape together thirty bucks or so for the Muga, a wine that I think represents the essence of what makes Spanish reds so attractive: their quality-to-value ratio. The 2011 Especial Reserve is the best of two worlds, in my opinion. It has fine tannins, a bit of earth, and a rusticity that should please Bordeaux lovers, but it has lush fruit, hints of oak, and a fleshiness that should appeal to those who like riper California reds. More importantly, it's a wine that extends over the party lines and unites all drinkers under one umbrella. I'd be hard-pressed to find a cab or merlot lover who didn't enjoy immensely the character of the tempranillo-dominated Muga. It's so versatile and friendly in so many ways. The point, however, is that I think Muga is a gateway wine. It's a wine that expands horizons and opens doors to exciting new worlds. Without Muga, I never would have found my way to K&L, that's for sure.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Tempranillo

- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.
Country:

Spain

- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.
Sub-Region:

Rioja

Alcohol Content (%): 14.5