Saturday, June 14, 2008

Review and Rating: ***+ $$$ Bodegas Muga Reserva, 2004, Rioja, Spain

Review: I really wanted to try this Bodegas Muga Reserva, 2004, from Rioja, Spain, mostly because Jay Miller talked about the "enticing nose" that included "pencil lead". The most prominent pencil lead I had enjoyed in a wine in recent years was in a late 1990's wine called Vacas. This was made from early vintages of cabernet sauvignon grapes in what later became called Rudd Wines Oakville Estate Proprietary Red. Heavenly experience.

Let's see if this tempranillo blend begins to compare. In the glass, the Bodegas Muga Reserva is black cherry in color, opaque in the center. The aromas almost do sing of a Napa cabernet: black currants, dirt, oak, ripe black cherry. Yes, I'd agree... enticing.

On the palate, a balanced, potent combination of flavors supports the aromas. Outstanding balance and intensity overall. Clean but lengthy, slightly chewy, finish. Touch of acidity on the close. I just might try another wine the same evening, so that keeps me just shy of four stars. Three stars out of five, with a plus for being best-of-class among the three-star league. No "pencil lead" for me, though.

Jay Miller of Wine Advocate awarded 93 points, saying, "The 2004 Muga Reserva is dark ruby-colored with an enticing nose of pain grille, pencil lead, crushed stone, and blackberry. This leads to an elegant wine with layers of flavor, several years of aging potential, and a lengthy finish."

After two-hour decanting: fruit opening up a bit, good balance.
After a full day decanting: lost depth in aroma, flavors and finish. Not recommended for this decant length.

Find Muga Reserva at WineZap.

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