2014 Bodegas Muga Torre Muga

Year: 2014
Appellation: Rioja
Country: Spain
Wine Spectator: 91
Wine Advocate: 94
James Suckling: 96
Jeb Dunnuck: 94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Price :
$119.95

AWESOME JUICE!!

"This rich red delivers ripe plum and currant flavors backed by licorice, tobacco, loamy earth and toast notes. This is dense on the palate, with well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity. Drink now through 2028. 2,500 cases made. -TM " (WS)

"There was no 2012 or 2013 produced, so we jumped from the 2011 to the 2014 Torre Muga, a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano and 10% Mazuelo from the middle of the slope in the village of Villalba de Rioja (where the Muga family comes from). It combines the freshness of the higher-altitude vineyards of the Prado Enea with the power of the lower ones used for the Muga range. It fermented in oak vats and had a shorter élevage of only 15 months (it used to be more), and the different varieties were kept separated until the penultimate racking when they were blended. There is more volume here and some more spice from the élevage, with an open and expressive nose. It's medium-bodied with some fine tannins and less weight in the mid-palate than other vintages. 20,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in September 2016.

Responsibility for whites and rosés has been transferred to Isaac Muga, while his brother Jorge makes all the reds. I tasted all the available whites and rosés to see what's going on. There is a new top of the range rosé, Flor de Muga, and they are also working to create a new white with mostly Viura, Garnacha Blanca and Maturana Blanca, aiming perhaps for the 2018 harvest. We had a long and relaxed tasting, and they reached for some older vintages when we were discussing vintage similarities, so I can offer you some opinions about the evolution of some past wines.

One common worry in the region (and in a good part of Spain) was the loss of production in the 2017 harvest. When talking about this with the Muga family, they told me they lost some 60% of their grapes with the frost of 2017. Talking about the reds, the Prado Enea from 2010 could very well be one of the finest vintages of their classical, long-aging bottling. The Graciano-centric Aro is making a comeback with the 2015; it hadn't been produced since 2010. Two to buy and bury in the cellar..." (WA)

"This is laser-guided with wet earth, blackberry and mahogany. Very perfumed. Full body, yet tight and focused with supporting tannins. Very polished and clear. Pure. A blend of tempranillo and graciano. Drink 2020." (JS)

"Made from 75% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 10% Graciano, the 2014 Torre Muga is heavenly stuff that’s from the oldest vineyards of the estate. This cuvée comes from sandy loam soils, was completely destemmed and saw malolactic fermentation in barrels followed by 15 months in oak prior to bottling. Blackcurrants, blackberries, charcoal, dark chocolate, and pencil lead notes all emerge from this big, rich, beautifully concentrated, yet fresh, vibrant and pure Rioja that has a stacked mid-palate, ripe, polished tannin, notable freshness, and a pure, elegant, yet powerful style. It's a beautiful wine to drink over the coming two decades." (JD)

Winery Notes:
GRAPES:
75% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo and 10% Graciano.

SOIL:
Clay/Calcareous and Alluvial.

VINIFICATION:
This wine is aged for 6 months in wooden vats, 18 months in new French oak barrels and at least 12 months in bottle.

TASTING:
The wine faithfully expresses the climatology that prevailed during the vintage, showing itself to be balanced and very juicy. Its easy-drinking character and “good manners” surprise you, even when you remember that it is only three years’ old and it is from a zone which usually needs more bottle time. That said, you can make allowance for the occasional rough edges on the palate which are of little importance and will round themselves off very quickly. The nose is attractive with fresher fruit than we are used to find in this wine. Very precise balance between red berry fruit and oaky spiciness which have still not fully integrated. The aromas show marked dimorphism.

On the one hand, the fruit is complex, difficult to pin down, and on the other we have very clearly defined spices: black pepper, cloves, vanilla and a little charcoal. In the back of the nasal cavity the spiciness dominates, a little drier, but more elegant and much richer in nuances. The fruit only returns after a few seconds in the aftertaste where we again find the red berries and something which seems similar to peaches and ripe plums.

In appearance it is rather more reddish than purple at the rim suggesting excellent acidity, boding well for the future.