1996 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja
Wine & Spirits
Classical Rioja. At first I thought I could be satisfied just smelling this wine. There's a particular balance of leather, clay-scented earth, red cherry and red spice in great Rioja Alta Tempranillo that blows the doors off all the more heavily extracted versions from other regions with its unholy elegance. And this has it, like a gypsy drawing you in to taste how those complexities play off succulent red fruit and blacker, bittersweet tannin. The staying power is exceptional, as is the beautiful form. Drink now through 2020, with duck confit or rack of lamb.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Medium red. Superripe aromas of plum and coconut, with notes of leather and tobacco. Fat, silky and sweet, with lovely depth of roasted redcurrant and plum flavor and a complicating, slightly funky leathery nuance; firm acids give the wine a penetrating quality. Finishes nutty and long. A classic old-style Rioja. I would pour this into a decanter and serve it straightaway. (ST)
Mellow flavors and a muscular structure characterize this mature red. Offers coffee, leather and spicy notes that blend seamlessly over firm tannins. A core of berry fruit emerges on the finish. (TM)
In June 2005, Robert Parker rated the wine 92 points, saying: "The Chateau Rayas of Rioja may be the light to medium ruby-colored 1996 Prado Enea Gran Reserva, a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Grenache, Mazuelo, and Graciano. A classic effort with more flavor intensity and complexity than its light to medium ruby hue suggests, it is fully mature yet remarkably fresh, youthful, and vigorous. The wine hits the palate with unexpected intensity as well as flavor authority in addition to a medium to full-bodied, long finish. This singular, distinctive offering should last another 6-10 years." (In a follow-up dated June 2010, former Advocate writer Jay Miller gave the wine 90 points.)