November 4, 2019

Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea 2009

Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea 2009

Each year for my husband’s birthday I try to find a really good Rioja either to drink at home or to pair with a special dinner out at a fabulous restaurant.  As I have said often when I am posting about this Spanish red wine, it’s my husband’s favorite.  Honestly, if it wasn’t for his love of the wines coming from this region I might forget to drink it.  I am beginning to think that Spanish wine in general isn’t on the radar of most Americans.  Italian reds and Napa Cabs seem to dominate most wine lists and the majority of people tend to stick with what they know.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that tactic, however, there are whole regions out there producing amazing quality wines at outstanding values that are just begging to be added to your shopping cart and Spain is at the top of the list!


Months ago during one of my wine hauls at Super Buy Rite in New Jersey, I purchased a bottle of Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea 2009 with the intention of putting it away until hubby’s birthday in September.  Since we were away in San Fran on his actual birthday, I cracked this open a few weeks ago and boy was it worth every penny!  To get context as to what makes this Gran Reserva from Muga so special, we need to appreciate that Bodegas Muga is one of the most important wineries in the Rioja province of Spain.  The winery was established in 1932 by husband and wife Isaac Muga Martínez and Aurora Caño.  The winery is located in Haro which is part of the coveted Rioja Alta region.  The vines used to make this wine are some of the best and oldest, growing on prime southern facing slopes below the Montes Obarenses.  Due to multiple climates within this location, they also grow Viura (Macabeo) and Malvasia white grapes.  They are the only wine producer in Spain to employ their own Master Cooper to make the vats and barrels for the winery, and use traditional production methods combined with more modern innovations in wine making to ensure the highest quality possible.

The Gran Reserva Prado Enea 2009 is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan), and Graciano grapes. This Rioja is fuller in body and experiences significant aging prior to release.  It is first aged 12 months in American oak vats, followed by 36 months in French oak barrels.  After bottling it is aged an additional 36 months.  In the glass it is dark ruby but more translucent in color than you would see in some heavier reds, while having a clear rim at the edges.  On the nose I experienced woodsmoke, cedar, and chocolate aromas.  On the palate was predominantly red fruit: cherry and red plum, cocoa powder, vanilla, and a slight dill note which I am thinking is coming from the American oak vats.  The combination of both American and French oak plus plenty of time to develop, results in a well structured wine with a long finish due good acid, soft tannins, and 14% alcohol content.  This wine can be enjoyed now or can be cellared for long term aging.  Since this is a Gran Reserva the price tag is much higher than your typical Crianza or Reserva Rioja and will cost between $60-$70 per bottle depending on the retailer.

If you can find the Gran Reserva Prado Enea I highly recommend you buy it.  This is a highly rated wine if you are into ratings and use them as a guide while making your wine choices.  Wine Spectator gave it 93 points and Wine Enthusiast rated it 95 points.  This isn’t the first wine that we have tried from Bodegas Muga.  We also enjoyed the 2017 Rosado which is their version of Rosé a few summers ago on a boating excursion.  Bodegas Muga is a solid producer and one that you can’t go wrong no matter which of their wines you find.

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