2019 Bodegas Muga, Rioja, Torre Muga, Rioja Alta, Spain.
The 2019 Muga “Torre Muga” is a powerful and Bordeaux like wine, made from about 75% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo and 10% Graciano, offering dense black fruits and structured complexity, revealing opulent layers of blackberry, mulberry, plum, currant and cherry fruits, as well as smoky cedar, vanilla, anise, sweet tobacco leaf, loam and mineral notes that fold in nicely, making for an impressive vintage. As this deeply hued Torre Muga, sourced from high elevation sites within the Rioja Alta zone, including Muga’s El Estepal, La Loma, Baltracones, La Loma Alta, and Sajazarra vineyards that are organic and see a combination of head trained and trellised old vines set on calcareous clay and alluvial soils, opens you begin to see the depth, an incense bouquet and its terroir come through. This area sees some Atlantic cooling influence and the more arid Continental climate allowing for a deep ripening, while maintaining a graceful balance and natural acidity, making for wines that can really age, and while this 2019 Torre Muga will thrill now, it has the potential to go 25 years in bottle, and as a side note I always suggest decanting these Muga Rioja offerings and be sure to take your time and have a hearty meal with them. With a warming planet, these vines planted in high altitude areas of Rioja Alta are incredibly precious sites that provide outstanding fruit to make world class Rioja(s) that have potential and promise for now and the future.

One of the noble family’s in Spanish wine, the Muga’s, who founded the winery in 1932, as I’ve mentioned in prior reviews and by Isaac Muga and Aurora Caño continue to be great ambassadors of the Rioja region and the heritage here, paying respect for traditions and taking great pleasure in preserving and protecting the environment and terroir. The lineup here is vast and delicious, every wine a treat, from their light white Rioja Blanco and Rosé (Rosado) to their Tempranillo based, powerful reds, of which, I love this Torre Muga, the Muga Selección Especial and maybe though their Prado Enea best of all. That said, this vintage of Torre Muga is wonderfully compelling and aromatic stuff with lots of sex appeal, I’ve really re-discovered my love for Rioja and Tempranillo this year and this wine has firm, but velvety tannins and a freshness, highlighting the best qualities of the region. Coming from mature vines planted between 1926 and 1976, the grapes are rigorously sorted, as the winery notes, and undergo an indigenous yeast fermentation in custom made open top oak fermenters that are produced here at the winery. The Torre Muga (Muga Tower) then is pressed and racked over to French oak barrels after the primary fermentation is complete, where the wine is aged for 24 months, before being blended and settled in large oak vats for another six months. This year has been good for Rioja appreciation and Muga has again made an exceptional set of wines, especially their Prado Enea and this Torre Muga, both of which offer distinct character and both of which I highly recommend!
($120 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

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