2009 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja

SKU #1144625 95 points Wine Spectator

 *Highly Recommended* Powerful yet harmonious, this rich red delivers black cherry, licorice, fresh herb, smoke and mineral flavors that mingle seamlessly over firm, well-integrated tannins, while balsamic-tinged acidity drives the flavors through the long, spicy finish. Drink now through 2025.  (9/ 2013)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (70% tempranillo, 20% garnacha, 7% mazuelo and 3% garciano; aged for 28 months in small oak barrels) Opaque ruby. Sexy, oak-spiced aromas of red- and blackcurrant, cherry and vanilla, with a bright floral accent. Lush and palate-staining, offering intense dark berry preserve and cherry-cola flavors that become spicier with air. Deep and rich but surprisingly lively, finishing with impressive energy and floral persistence.  (10/ 2013)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Seleccion Especial is sourced from the same blend of 70% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacho (they use the masculine form of the name here), 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo as the Reserva and also from the same zone in the confluence of the Oja and Ebro rivers selected from the geologically older plots, usually in higher terraces where the vines are at least 30 years old. Fermentation is carried out in oak vats and aged in barriques for twenty eight months, initially in new barrels and then transferred to used ones. This is more backward and closed than the Reserva, with a more subtle and elegant nose, a tighter palate, with fine-grained tannins, pungent flavors and great acidity and length. The Reserva’s big brother. 240,000 bottles produced. Drink 2015-2024. I think the Muga family wines have been going from strength to strength and they are offering superbly-crafted wines from their cellars in the Barrio de la Estacion in Haro. I’ve seen a big change in Prado Enea starting with the 2004 vintage. As it happens, some of their wines are selling faster than they are produced (as they are not necessarily offered in every vintage) and they had no Prado Enea to show. The next vintage will be 2006, but there will be none in 2007 or 2008 and they need to fill the gap until the 2009 is released. The vintage of Torre Muga and Aro on the market is already 2010. There’s no stainless steel whatsoever at Muga, they have kept true to their beliefs, and all their wines are fermented in oak  (9/ 2013)

K&L Notes

The 2009 Reserva Selección especial is one of the best young Muga wines I have ever tasted. Here is a quick bit of "inside baseball" for you: while Muga makes a terrific Reserva wine that they market as such in North America, that wine is actually labelled as "Crianza" in Spain. It is aged more than long enough to be called a Reserva, but it is the Reserva Selección Especial that is actually bottled as the Reserva in Spain. This special selection is from Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano grown in higher elevation, more calcareous vineyards, which are then harvested later, in the case of 2009 into the second week of November! As a result, the wine is richer with a more intense purplish color, but also possessing greater fruit purity and multiple layers of flavor than the regular Reserva bottling. Blackberrries, an array of baking spices, violets, chalky minerality...all these come together in wonderful balance to create this wine. It's heady, primary and delicious now, though it will certainly repay many years, and likely up to a few decades, of cellaring. For under $40, I would be hard pressed to name a better value, more sure fire red wine cellar candidate in our inventory than this wine. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)

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Price: $39.99

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By: Krista Johnson |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 11/7/2013  | Send Email
Incredibly delicious Rioja! This Spanish beauty is super silky on the palate and is full of black cherries, dried herbs, and soft cedar. The finish is earthy with a leathery grip that lingers with a light minerality. A perfect wine to compliment your holiday feast or simply to sip on a cool evening.

By: Joe Manekin |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 11/1/2013  | Send Email
Keith Mabry and I tasted Muga's current releases on a blustery, mid-March morning, where large, wet snow flurries punctuated the sky and we were reminded of the cold, Atlantic climactic influence on the Rioja town of Haro! To me, this was the most impressive and Rioja affirming line-up of wines we had the opportunity to taste all trip. While a few staunch traditionalists may quibble over Muga's decreasing length of elevage and increasing use of newer oak barrels, we remaining traditionalists will likely recognize how complete, how delicious and reflective of Rioja Alta terroir these wines are. Fans of richer wines will find a lot to like with the plush, spicy blackberry and black cherry flavors, while those who prefer subtlety, nuance, acidity and minerality will also be able to enjoy these now - though probably opting to cellar for another decade or more. If you are a Rioja lover or simply looking for a great red wine to cellar, I would buy as much of this as you can afford.

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