2012 Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The red 2012 Reserva is sold as Crianza or Reserva depending on the market, but it's always a blend of Tempranillo with some 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo from the lower part of the valley of the Oja-Tirón river. The varieties are fermented and aged separately until most of it (around 80%) is blended the summer after. Even when they do not produce some of the top cuvées (like in 2012), those grapes are never used for this wine. 2012 saw good ripeness, and the wine shows it, but doesn't show any excess. The vinification is as classic as it gets: the grapes ferment with natural yeasts with a 'pied de cuve' and the wine matured in new barriques the first year; it was then transferred to well-seasoned barrels for a further year of upbringing. It still feels quite oaky with some smoky aromas and some notes of roasted sesame seeds. The palate is lush and round, with polished tannins. This is a textbook Rioja at a very good price for the quality it delivers. This wine should be readily available, as it's produced in good quantities, close to one million bottles, which for this quality is impressive.