2011 Muga Reserva Selección Especial, Rioja
Archetypal Rioja Alta. Sounds boring, but it is an exciting wine with full spectrum of fresh and ripe red fruit to black ‘Muga’ fruit which shine through throughout our 1 hour tasting, despite the very extensive oak ageing. Wonderful balsamic tones with notes of warm influence (mint and licorice). On aeration, firework of cloves, pepper, vanilla and nuances like sour cream, leather and tobacco. Fruity and complex. Fine tannins. Powerful. 2011 is a riper vintage, yet the alcohol and structure is nicely balanced at 13.5%. ‘Atlantic' more than ‘Mediterranean’. Some elegance. From Haro.
Fermentation with indigenous yeast in oak vats, so a bit wild finish. Aged for 26 months in small barrels. A 60-month storage in big cask. Then it is being rounded off in the bottle for twelve months. Blend is 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano
Very high score. Still of excellent value.
James Suckling - "A complex nose of dried strawberries with slate and white-truffle undertones. Hints of Spanish cedar. Full body, juicy tannins and bright acidity that follows through to a long, clean and earthy finish. A great wine that shows structure and complexity. Drink or hold."
Wine Spectator - "This red has a firm backbone and a solid texture, with harmonious flavors of plum, blackberry, licorice, cocoa and espresso. Concentrated yet graceful. Drink now through 2026."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2011 Reserva Selección Especial, from a warmer and drier year compared with the average (as well as the previous harvest), has a similar blend as the regular Muga Reserva; it is 65% Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, and it was fermented in small vats with indigenous yeasts. The different varieties and grapes are fermented and aged separately, the first year in new oak and the second one in used barrels. 2011 is a powerful vintage for this cuvée, which now shows quite marked by toasty aromas. Warm vintages usually need longer in bottle to integrate the oak, but experience shows that it gets absorbed and in fact the evolution of this wine in bottle is very good. Even if the nose recommends to wait, the palate is very balanced, with remarkably ripe tannins for such warm year, which can sometime produce some harsh tannins. Not the case here, where the wine shows good elegance and balance. This is a very reliable cuvée, quite stable across vintages."