2016 Bodegas Muga Rioja Rosado

Year: 2016
Appellation: Rioja
Country: Spain
Wine Spectator: 88
Wine Advocate: 88+
James Suckling: 91
Jeb Dunnuck: 88--Wine Enthusiast: 89
Rose Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :


"This lively rosé rides energetic citrusy acidity to deliver focus and freshness. Cherry and red plum flavors have depth, and leafy and smoky notes add interest. Drink now. 4,000 cases imported. -T.M." (WS)

"The 2016 Rosado is really a "clarete" mixing red and white grapes, Garnacha and Viura with a little bit of Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano. The musts are blended and fermented together in small oak vats (there is no stainless steel at Muga). The wine is kept in neutral, well-seasoned oak vats in contact with the fine lees for some four months. This wine is a commercial success, one of the few references to sell out after the harvest. It has the freshness of the white and behaves a bit like it, with a nice mouthfeel and texture. It's more serious than you think. This is the one to drink now. 220,000 bottles produced.

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)

"Lovely rosé with strawberry, peach and flower aromas and flavors. Medium body, light phenolic tension and a crisp finish. Drink now." (JS)

"The 2016 Muga Rosado is a classic, delicious rosé. Strawberries, spice, and some underbrush notes all emerge from this clean, balanced, quaffable effort that's ideal for a hot summer day. Drink up." (JD)

"Clean aromas of apricot and cantaloupe are fresh, stony and not too pushy. This has a nice mouthfeel driven by zesty acidity. Nectarine and melon flavors are clean as river stones, and long lasting." (WE)

60% Garnacha, 30% Viura and 10% Tempranillo.

Clay/Calcareous and Alluvial.

After about twelve hours macerating with the grape skins, the wine ferments for 25 days in small, 1000 litre wooden vats, which is where it is kept for 2 months before being bottled.

It had been a promising vintage until September came along with abundant rainfall and unusually high temperatures which led to problems of grape rot of a kind which had not been seen for many years. In many vineyard plots we had to discard 50% of the fruit. Never before had so much of the harvest passed along the selection table and we had to organise shifts so as to work 20 hours per day. The result was excellent thanks to the response of our brilliant team.

In the Valley we use the slopes of the Obarenes mountains for growing the garnacha grapes which we blend in our reds. These slopes have good ripening thanks to their exposure to the sun but in the case of the rosé wines we need to plant on just the opposite facing slope, the one most hidden from direct sunlight and where the cooler temperatures allow us to preserve the fresh, sharp fruit taste.

Very light in colour, mainly pale salmon with orange glints and a bright sheen.

On the nose the wine proves more mature than you might expect for the vintage. The acid fruit is less citrus in character and, in this vintage, ripe peach and pineapple aromas come through more strongly.

Full, supple mouth-feel thanks to the time spent on fine lees, adding hints of baker’s shop aromas. The typical acidity of this wine is perfectly balanced to give an overall smooth taste. The aftertaste and retronasal phases are dominated by velvety smooth, yet fresh, sharp peach leaving a lovely final sensation which makes you want to try more.

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