domingo, 6 de enero de 2013

Bodegas Muga ( Haro - La Rioja )


Bodegas Muga is located in the historical Barrio de La Estación (railway station district) in Haro. The facilities (270,000 square foot) are two centuries old, built mainly of stone and oak. In fact, oak is paramount in the winery. There are 200 oak deposits as well as 14,000 barrels, made out of different types of oak ranging from French oak (Allier, Tronçais or Jupilles), American, Hungarian, Russian and even the small consignment of Spanish oak.


The Muga family has been an active part of Haro viticulture since at least the 17th century, and the history of Bodegas Muga begins in 1932, when the estate was created by Isaac Muga Martínez and his wife, Aurora Caño, both descendants of local winemaking families.

The pair established themselves in the centre of Haro (The capital of Rioja Wines). Isaac always intended to move nearer the railway station, some considerable distance outside of the town, positioning himself alongside the many venerable bodegas that are located there, but he never survived to see the move completed. He died in 1969, leaving the estate to his three children who oversaw Isaac's envisaged relocation, which included the construction of a new bodegas topped off with a tower. The cellars include not only the usual fermentation and ageing rooms, but also a coopery, providing the family with a constant supply of oak barrels, which are central to the Muga style.

Aurora’s sons Manuel and Isacín (short for Isaac) were the main figures leading forward the diferents leaps that the winery took in 1970s , 1980s and 1990s. And it is no less true that her grandsons (Manuel and Jorge, but also the younger Isaac and Juan) are doing a great job this century, not only in terms of marketing but also, more importantly, in terms of the quality of the wines.


- Grape Reception: The first thing to do when grapes arrive in the winery is to assess their quality by analyzing important parameters, such as total acidity, colour, degree of alcohol and physical condition. According to these parameters grape will be classified into different quality groups, rejecting the fruit that does not reach the required levels for our wines.

The grapes used for Aro, Torre Muga and Prado Enea are harvested in small boxes (20 kg capacity) so that they get to the winery in a perfect condition. Then the grape bunches go through the selection tables, where those that do not fulfil the required quality are put aside. After that, the grape bunches go through the destemming process, where the stems are separated from the grape berries. Finally, grapes are put into the fermentation vessels.
- Fermentation Rooms: Fermentation is a natural process of slowly converting the sugar contained in the fruit to ethanol. Contact between the juice and the skin is essential for both colour extraction and aroma. Bodegas Muga has four fermentation rooms containing 90 wooden casks, their capacities ranging from three thousand to fifteen thousand kilos. Thanks to this broad range, Bodegas Muga can make different wines depending on the fruit quality and the vineyards they come from.

- Cooperage: Following traditional methods, Bodegas Muga uses oak throughout all the wine-making process (fermentation, ageing and storage). As a matter of fact, Bodegas Muga is one of the very few Spanish wineries that employ three coopers plus a "cubero" (who specializes in the big casks). They are in charge of working with the oak wood that will finally give that unique and personal touch to their wines.
- Cask Ageing: Once the alcoholic fermentation takes place, wine will naturally carry out the secondary fermentation, also called malolactic fermentation. Later on, wines start their ageing, in a large wooden container, which can last from 24 to 36 months, depending on the wine category. Every four months wine has to be moved from the barrels where it has been sitting to new empty barrels. This is called trasiega (racking) and helps clear the wine from the settled sediment or lees that have precipitated during the ageing process.

- Clarification: Once the red wine is aged but before it is bottled, clarification is done in Bodegas Muga. The method used is traditional (using egg whites). Two to three egg whites are enough for 100 liters of red wine. The egg whites drag any remaining sediments and adsorb harsh and bitter tannins leaving behind the softer tannins.

Clarification or fining is done in oak containers with capacity for 17,500 liters. Once the process of clarification is done, the wine is extracted from the container and bottled. The egg whites together with the lees at the bottom of the container will be used to produce balanced, high quality compost, which in turn will be used to fertilize the soil, in a naturally biological process.

 - Bottle Ageing: Once the wine is bottled, it will remain in the winery for a time that ranges from 9 months (Crianza) to 36 months (Prado Enea Gran Reserva). During this time the wine refines in the bottle. Thus, the enjoyment is guaranteed the moment the wine is available for the consumer.


Bodegas Muga vineyards are located on the foot of the Montes Obarenses, within the area called Rioja Alta. The site climate is exceptional due to, on the one hand, the singular geography and orientation of the vines and on the other hand, the surrounding climates (Mediterranian, Atlantic and Continental) climates are combined harmoniously thus creating a suitable climatic site for growing grape.

The soil in this area is mostly clay and limestone, divided in small terroirs with different physical and chemical qualities between them, thus each terroir has a unique and defined personality. This abundance of climatic influences and different soils define prolonged stages in the vine growth cycle. The growth will be complex and delicate, key to the potential quality of the wines in this area.

Bodegas Muga owns 620 acres of vineyards but it also has control over 370 acres owned by vine growers in the area. The grape varieties grown are Tempranillo (the essence), Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano for the red wines; and Viura and Malvasia are used for the white wines.

The total harvest figures are highly unpredictable, since they depend greatly on the quality of each vintage. The production of crianza, rosé, and barrel-fermented white represents about 800,000 bottles. From there on, total production figures may approach 2 million bottles in the best years, when all the house labels are produced.


In this wines we can find both tradition and modernity side by side. They are an exact reflection of a very specific climatic and geographic features, and that’s why they have a pronounced personality.

Muga Cask-fermented White 2011
- Grapes: Viura 90%, Malvasía 10%.
- Soil: Clay/Calcareous and Alluvial.
- Elaboration: Double grape checking, both on selection belt and on tasting the musts, means that they exclude 50% of the harvest. Slow fermentation in new French oak and 3 months on fine lees are the secrets of this careful production process.
- Tasting notes: Straw yellow with glints of burnished gold. On the nose this wine primarily displays fruity aromas of ripe pineapple, peaches in syrup and honey. It has a full, juicy, velvety attack and certainly no vestiges of its time on fine lees. Along the sides of the tongue we can appreciate slight bitter nuances from the malic acid which round off and complement the whole sensory balance of the wine. It is only in the retronasal phase that the spicy nuances from new European-oak casks appear, concluding with reminders of dried aromatic herbs.

Muga Rosado 2011
- Grapes: 60% Garnacha, 30% Viura and 10% Tempranillo.
- Soil: Clay/Calcareous and Alluvial.
- Elaboration: 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.
- Tasting; Garnacha, the key variety in the composition of this wine, has no fear of harsh weather conditions. It shows itself at its best, if that is possible, in hot, dry years. That is why we can say that 2011 is its crowning year. It brings the necessary freshness and crispness which are essential to a jolly, appealing wine made to be enjoyed in a tasting. The wine’s attack on the nose brings reminders of tart fruit: unripe peaches, pineapple, passion fruit… all with a touch of flowers, especially white blossom, perhaps from the significant proportion of white Viura grapes. Its period left on the lees underpins the acidity in such a way that its presence is obvious but not intrusive, thanks to the softening influence of the polysaccharides. As you sip it your mouth seems to fill with sweet, chewy fruit. As it passes over the palate the sensations move towards sharp apples, before ending in the retronasal phase with a total dominance of white blossom and ripe fruit.

Eneas 2011
- Grapes: Tempranillo 90% and Viura 10%.
- Vineyards: Geography: the grapes used to make this wine come from the upper part of the Riojan Sonsierra, mainly from the municipality of San Vicente.
Terrain: the vineyard is on the southern slope of the Sierra de Cantabria, just on the limit where cultivated land ends and brush land begins.
- Soils: the soils consist of alternating layers of cracked hardened loam and clay.
- Elaboration: Harvested in 15 kilo boxes. Manual selection on a conveyor belt. Fermentation in open wood vats: A perfect process of carbonic maceration is achieved by carefully placing the grapes from the boxes at the bottom of the vats using a ladder and not letting the grapes reach a height of more than one metre. After one week, the wine is devatted separating the various phases, and allowed to conclude fermentation in small wooden vats. The marc is pressed lightly in cage presses at minimum pressure.
- Tasting notes: Almost entirely purple in colour, with the shade becoming lighter further from the bulb of the glass. Around the rim you can find rings of violet tending more towards cherry.

The nature of the harvest always determines the most dominant type of fruit character. In 2005 the aromatic intensity is to be found in blackberries and raspberries. The aroma is persistent in both the direct and retronasal tasting phases. When you slurp vapours into the retronasal cavity you can discover riper berries, touching on stewed fruit. Curiously the cinnamon and vanilla aromas only appear in retro-olfaction. In the mouth you once again find blackberries and raspberries, with the addition of some pleasant acidity. The tasting sensations are long and profound, thanks to the mineral component, the presence of soft tannins and the abundance of glycerine.
The aftertaste is tremendously prolonged, richer in fruitiness and, as in the retro-olfaction, we can even detect hints of cinnamon and vanilla.

Reserva 2008

- Varieties: 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano.
- Geology and Soil: Tertiary, chalky-clay terraces.
- Vinification: Fermentation in oak vats with indigenous yeasts. Aged for 24 months in oak casks selected from our own cooperage. Before bottling the wine is fined using fresh egg whites. Once bottled the wine is rounded off in the bottle for a further minimum of twelve months in our bottle cellar.

The strong influence of the Atlantic climate on this vintage, notwithstanding that of 2000, could mean that this is the best example of a wine of this style.

In “Atlantic” vintages the fruit fights to impose its character over the floral features, but in this wine, and at this point in its evolution, it hasn’t succeeded.

The first impression on the palate is of slight sharpness giving it freshness, the first sign of a wine which will give us a lot of sensations during its long life. As the wine moves through your mouth hints of dried fruits and spices appear and these are complemented in the aftertaste by balsamic nuances. We are faced with one of those rare exceptions in which the ripe fruit is better expressed in the retronasal phase than directly on the nose. We can find prunes, red berries, a bit of stewed apple and mulled wine. In the gradual fading of the sensations in both the retronasal phase and the aftertaste there remains a faint reminder of the fine spices from the oak.

The colour is clean and bright, predominantly red with violet hues reflecting its excellent acidity.

As is typical in wines of an “Atlantic” character, this is a wine which will continue to evolve for a long time to come, but its evolution will be particularly noticeable over the first two years, during which we will be able to enjoy its integration from one day to another.

Reserva Selección Especial 2006

- Grapes: 70 % Tempranillo, 20 % Garnacha, 7 % Mazuelo and
3% Graciano.
- Geology and Soil: Terraces of tertiary clay-calcareous soil.
- Elaboration: Fermentation with indigenous yeast in oak vats. Aged for 28 months in casks made from oak specially selected from their own cooperage. Before bottling the wine is fined with fresh egg whites. Once bottled it will undergo a process of rounding off in the bottle for twelve months in our cellars.
- Tasting notes: After five years gestation, this wine is beginning to reveal its character in the shape of its organoleptic complexity. Its level of integration is such that it makes it hard to give an exact definition and the taster needs to make an extra effort in the use of the senses.

Against a background of red berries, jammy fruit and liqueur fruits, spices such as cloves, black pepper or vanilla pods come through. At the same time, neither above nor below, you can detect leather, smoked and toasted wood and animal nuances. It is a wine without end.

With no sharp edges, on the palate it is silky, friendly and overflowing with harmony. The aftertaste, eternally long, finally ends with reminders of candies which interweave, in the retronasal phase, with the full range of the spices detected on the nose.

Prado Enea 2004

- Grapes: 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano.
- Soil: Chalky-clay and alluvial.
- Vinification: The grapes used for making Prado Enea, along with those for Torre Muga, are always the last ones to be brought into the winery. This late picking ensures ideal ripening. The grapes are then fermented naturally in 10,000-kilo oak vats with no temperature control or added yeasts. The maceration time can vary and may go on for up to twenty days. This wine is aged in 16,000-litre capacity oak vats for twelve months and then (minimum) thirty-six months in oak casks and (minimum) thirty-six months in the bottle. After cask-ageing the wine is gently fined using fresh egg whites.
- Tasting notes:  They achieved a better than normal point of ripeness which was then reflected in the presence of riper fruit aromas and the almost complete disappearance of the floral character which is so characteristic of this wine.

The climate conditions during the year were harsh and sharply contrasting, immediately reflected in the wine, as you would expect, in the shape of sharp tannins.

After nearly seven long years of polishing and smoothing, these have been perfectly integrated, allowing us to discover a wide range of spicy nuances, lightly superimposed on the fruit and flanked by fine, very fresh leather aromas.

In this phase of the tasting what most surprises you is how the wine takes over the whole mouth from the initial attack until a few minutes after the finish.

The aftertaste and retronasal phase initially transmit even, dominant notes of tobacco which fade to give way to spices such as cloves and black pepper.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the evolution of this wine is storing up some fantastic sensations for us to enjoy in the future.

Torre Muga 2009

- Grapes: 75% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo and 10% Graciano.
- Soil: Clay/Calcareous and Alluvial.
- Elaboration: 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 notes: 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.

Aro 2006

- Grapes.: 70% Tempranillo y 30% Graciano.
- Elaboration: 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 notes:  Elegant red colour with violet hues which hint at a well preserved youthfulness. In the aroma there is a subtle mingling of fruit nuances of ripe red berries with hints of spices. This aroma is intense, clean and subtle. On the palate it has lots of flavour, with an elegant attack, evolving into a meaty mouth-feel. It’s powerful, though modulated tannins carry the wine onwards into a long, promising finish. A complex, supple, enjoyable wine with excellent potency.

Cava Conde de Haro

- The grape varieties used are Viura (90%) and Malvasía (10%).
- Vinification: The musts undergo their first fermentation in 1,000 litre wood vats, where the wine is left until the end of April. The second fermentation is induced in the bottle. The bottles are then kept in lattes for a further 14 months.
- Vineyards: The vineyards are located at a high altitude in the same area as the Prado Enea vineyards. However, the cava vineyards are located on slopes facing north, to protect the plants in the summer from excessive heat that could alter the delicate varietal aromas required by cavas.

The grapes are harvested towards the third week in September; about fifteen days before those used to make white wines. Harvest is carried out in 15 kilo boxes to protect the berries’ integrity. After passing through the selector conveyor, the clusters are taken to the press. Pressing is the most delicate moment, as the quality must be maintained at all costs. Only the must drawn from the lightest pressing is used to make this cava.

- Tasting Notes: The first impression in the glass is of practically no oxidation, with bright yellow-green hues. The foam is dense and persistent, providing an inkling of its structure in the mouth. Looking at the centre of the glass we can see a uniform line of microscopic bubbles rising to the surface.

The nose is dominated by tangy fruit and floral aromas. In the background we find fermentative notes from the wine´s transformation in the bottle (honey, vanilla, liqueur).

Honeyed yet fresh in the mouth, thanks to its significant acidity. The combination of fruit, acidity and fine lees results in a surprising sensation of fullness that invites one to continue tasting it. The fruity notes return in the aftertaste, with predominant spices that, for several seconds, leave a very pleasant memory.

Cava Conde de Haro Ros

- Varieties: 100% Garnacha.
- Soil: Iron-clay.
- Vinification: Direct pressing, fermentation in 1,000 litre vats at 14º. It is then aged on the lees for a further 4 months before the addition of expedition liqueur. Second fermentation takes place in the bottle at 12º for 4 months and then it remains in riddling racks for a minimum of 14 months more, always at the same low temperature.
- Tasting Notes: Colour: Its very bright, soft salmon colour is due to the garnacha grape variety. Thanks to its slow fermentation, this cava has a very fine, persistent, elegant string of bubbles which reveals the care with which it has been made.

Aroma: The surprising aromatic complexity of this cava, with tropical fruit, citrus aromas giving freshness and youthfulness combining at the same time with ripe fruit such as peaches and quince, is a real joy.

Palate: It has a slightly sweet attack moving gently into crisp acidity. The pleasant sensation as it enters the mouth surprises you with the fine quality of its bubbles and does not prevent you from appreciating the elegance and complexity that the influence of the time on the lees has had in its evolution. In the aftertaste, reinforced by the fizz, you can again find the aromatic palette that we enjoyed on the nose. It is a cava which will not leave you unmoved and its persistence is a sure sign of its great quality.

Bodegas Muga
Area under vine: 200ha (500 acres)
Average production: 1.4 million bottles
Barrio de la Estación s/n, 26200 Haro, La Rioja
Tel: +34 941 311825 Fax: +34 941 312 867

1 comentario:

  1. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.
    The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following.
    unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as exactly the same
    nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

    Here is my blog ... apuestas deportivas