2005 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2005 Prado Enea Gran Reserva spends 36-months in oak, nine months in new oak after which it is racked into American oak that is "semi-new" (i.e. a new barrel that is "broken in" with a wine beforehand). It has an unashamedly opulent bouquet of primal, ripe, boysenberry, mulberry, dark chocolate and crushed violets that blossom with aeration. The palate is full-bodied with crisp acidity cutting through the pure blackberry and cassis fruit. It has wonderful focus and intensity, though the finish demonstrates convincing composure. This is an outstanding Gran Reserva whose silky texture will instantly win you over. Drink 2013-2030+. Bodegas Muga was a must during my afternoon visiting the triumvirate of classic Rioja producers located within spitting distance from each other in Haro. The name should need no introduction. It was founded by Aurora Cano and her husband Isaac in 1932, although the family were growers and did not commence winemaking themselves until the 1960s, when they relocated to the building in Barrio de la Estacion. Under Auroras son, Isaac Jnr, who joined us for the tasting, Muga fostered a reputation for high quality, classic Rioja wine sourced from an almost incalculable number of tiny parcels. During the 1990s they branched out to pursue what you might call "modern" Rioja with the inception of "Torre Muga" in 1991.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(80% tempranillo, with garnacha, mazuelo and graciano; aged in large oak vats for 16 months, followed by another 36 months in small oak barrels and then another 3 years in bottle before release): Deep ruby. Heady, mineral-tinged red fruit and rose scents are complemented by star anise, vanilla and woodsmoke. Supple, seamless and concentrated, offering intense raspberry, cherry and rose pastille flavors underscored by zesty minerality. Shows uncommon finesse for its power and finishes sweet, focused and extremely long. For the money, this is a crazy value.
This is an excellent vintage of one of the truly great, collectible, must-have Riojas. If you are getting into cellaring Riojas (which, of course, we hope you are as the wines age beautifully!) then this is a terrific cellar candidate. "Prado Enea" is the flagship, the most steadfastly traditional wine from the Bodegas Muga stable. While it has the combination of spice and savor, high toned fruit and challk, heady floral aromatics and sumptuous berry fruit that the best Riojas show, it manages to offer both the finer fragrance and greater intensity of flavor on the palate that only the best vintages bring to the table. This is a terrific wine to put down in the cellar and share with friends in another several years - or much longer, if you prefer. What can we say - this is awesome Rioja, a classic. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine buyer)