The Muga winery was founded in 1932 by Isaac Muga Martínez who originated from a family with strong ties to the winemaking industry. On the death of the founder in 1969, his children Manuel, Isabel and Isaac Muga Caño took over the reins. In 1971, they moved their headquarters to their present location in the traditional Station District on the outskirts of Haro. Over the years as Bodegas Muga has gained worldwide recognition for its outstanding wines it holds on to the spirit of a family-run company. They carefully control every step of the viticultural and vinification process from the vineyards to making their own barrels and fermenting and aging the wine entirely in oak. Muga is one of only six estates in the world that owns its own cooperage and they import the oak directly from the United States and France. Bodegas Muga is one of the oldest and most traditional producers in Rioja. This Seleccion Especial is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano that is fermented with indigenous yeasts in oak vats. The wine aged for 26 months in casks made in the winery with their own cooperage from selected oak. Before bottling the wine is fined with fresh egg whites. Once bottled it ages in bottle for at least twelve months their our cellars before release. Wine Enthusiast Magazine scored it 94 points, pegging it as a Cellar Selection. They said "Tight as a drum on the nose, this rambunctious Rioja is throbbing with blackberry, plum and floral aromas. Intense and staunch on the palate, with plum, raspberry, cherry, herb and chocolate flavors, this runs long on the finish, with power and acidity to spare. Hold until 2017, then drink through 2035." Limited!
I've been purchasing a lot of Italian wines in the last several months and have found many of the Piedmont offerings very much to my liking. I thought I would try some of the Rioja varietals; first the straight Tempranillo found in the Montecillo brand, then the blended Muga. In my opinion the price spread didn't justify the extra cost. Taste is subjective of course, but I found them a tad too astringent for my liking. I have an book on the Rioja district with an extensive synopsis on all the wineries listed in your offerings, so I don't doubt their pedigrees. I've been purchasing some excellent Chardonnays and Cabernets from an Alexander Valley vintner for over thirty years now, such is the staying power of something that's consistently good. I consume wine with dinner and don't worry too much about food pairings so that may have something to do with it. In time I'll consume the rest of my purchase and may yet alter my evaluation.