Bodegas Muga 2006 Prado Enea Rioja Gran Reserva (98JS 96RP 94D 92WS)

Bodegas Muga 2006 Prado Enea Rioja Gran Reserva (98JS 96RP 94D 92WS)

  • Size: 750ml
  • Item Code: 615503020051
  • Vintage: 2006
$57.49

“This is amazing traditional Rioja with a complexity and beauty of ripe fruit and long aging. Unique. Full body, ultra-fine tannins, tobacco, vanilla, plums and prunes. It lasts for minutes on the palate. Three years aged in oak and three years in bottle. 80% tempranillo with the rest of the classic varieties. All from high altitude vineyards.” 98 Points James Suckling

“The 2006 Prado Enea is a phenomenal bottle of traditional Rioja at its best. A blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and the remaining 10% Mazuelo and Graciano aged for a long time in oak and bottled before release. This is a practice quite common from yesteryear, but that is a true rarity today. The technical data provided talks about incredible parameters, 14% alcohol and a pH of 3.39, both extremely low for a warm vintage like 2006. The grapes are sourced from higher-altitude terraced plots where the climate is cooler and drier and the soils are rich in clay. This is a wine that is not automatically produced every year. The wine spends its elevage in oak containers of different size, origin and age for no less than three years. The nose is intoxicating with a superb mixture of tertiary and more primary aromas like old furniture, cloves, cracked pepper, incense and cigar ash plus cherries in liqueur (that Garnacha!). The palate is medium-bodied, with great freshness (Jorge Muga tells me the pH is stabilized with aging in barrel), acidity and balance, with a silky texture, ultra-fine tannins and great persistence and length. This wine feels younger than it is, and seems to be aging at a glacial pace. With the stuffing and balance it has this should make very old bones, and drink greatly throughout its life. Superb! At this quality level the price seems like a bargain. 90,000 bottles produced. The next Prado Enea will be 2009 as they didn’t get what they look for in this wine in either 2007 and 2008. Those were two cold vintages, and 2007 had 100 liters of rain during the harvest. Prado Enea is harvested in November and in 2008 there was frost at the end of October.” 96 Points Robert Parker

“While the Muga family now produces some ultra-modern styles, this sits perfectly in a classical spot, all woodsmoke and red berries. The 80% Tempranillo matured for three years in cask makes for a finely balanced, typical Rioja. “ 94 Points Decanter

The Muga wine cellars were 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. Two years later in 1971, they moved their headquarters to their present location in the traditional Station District on the outskirts of Haro. Bodegas Muga has continued to grow as the years have passed but it has never lost the spirit or aptitude of a family-run company. The winery controls 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, most elegant and traditional Rioja producers

Ratings and Awards

  • 98 JamesSuckling.com
  • 96 Wine Advocate

James Suckling recommends this wine.

“This is amazing traditional Rioja with a complexity and beauty of ripe fruit and long aging….”

James Suckling

Rioja

Rioja is, without dispute, the best known Spanish wine region. Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) are the two primary grapes; these grapes develop beautifully in a limestone-rich soil and moderate climate environment. Over 60% of the wine produced in Rioja are “Rioja Joven” and meant to be drunk young. La Rioja Alta is a better known producer who focuses on Rioja Reserves and Gran Reservas.

Rioja prices have gone up but despite being a DOCa, the quality of wine is still quite inconsistency. If you have to pay the price, look for reliable producers such as Allende, Campillo, Marques de Riscal, Marques de Vargas, Montecillo, and Remelluri.

Spain

With 1,200,000 hectares, Spain has more land under vine than any other country in the world. As of 2004, data from OIV indicates that Spain has 35% more land under vine than Italy or France. However, due to harsh climate, historic setbacks, and past regulatory constraints on irrigation, Spain lags France and Italy in yields and volume of wine produced.

Spain is also the home to many varietals. Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) are widely planted. Grenache, planted in Southern France, is actually Spanish in origin. Other varietals include Viura (or Macabeo), Albarino, Verdejo, Airen, and Palomino and Pedro Ximenez.

Note there there are many local names for the same grape. For example, the massly planted Tempranillo is known as Ull de Llebre in Penedes, Tinto Fino or Tinta Del Pais in Rebera Del Duero, Tinta de Toro in Toro, and Cencibel in Valdepenas!

Spanish Wine Regions:

  1. Rioja Tempranillo and Grenache
  2. Galicia & Castilla y Leon Tempranillo, Albarino
  3. La Mancha Various

Appellation Classifications

Like France and Italy, Spanish wines fall into a similar quality tiered system:

  • Vino De Mesa: Lowest, most basic table wine category. Wine is often made from blended grape varietals and regions. No vintage date nor associated region allowed.
  • Vino Comarcal: Like france’s vin de pays, the wine is associated to a classified region.
  • Vino De La Tierra: Equivalent to France’s VDQS — a category down from DO.
  • Denominaciones de Origen (DO): Wine subjects to rigid regional regulations on grape variety, yields per hectare, alcohol level, and production methods.
  • Denominaciones de Origen Calificada (DOC/DOCa): The most prestigious category created in 1986 to further differentiate the DOs. There are ~55 DOs in Spain but only two — Rioja and Priorato — are prestigiously classified as DOCa.

Unlike Italy, Spain does not have a IGT category. To differentiate higher quality wine that does not satisfy the criteria of DOC (e.g. producers in the DO regions want to use a different grape or vinification method), a subcategory within Vino De Mesa was created. These higher quality wines are allowed to have a vintage year and the broader non-DO classified region on its label.

Useful Terms: DO wine must go through a certain period of aging time. Look for the following terms on the wine label to assess the quality and complexity of the wine:

  • Vino de Cosecha: Vintage wine, with >85% of the grapes harvested in the vintage year.
  • Crianza: Crianza means nursury in Spanish. The wine must be aged in oak barel for 6 months and in bottle for 2 years before being sold to public. * Riserva: Wine must be aged at least 3 years, of which 1+ yr must be in oak barrels. * Gran Reserva: Produced only in the best years, with approval from the local viticulture authority.

Carignan

Carignan originated in Spain probably near the town of Cariñena in Aragon. It first appeared in the Pyrenées Orientales region of France in the Twelfth Century, and later expanded into Mediterranean France. Carignan is grown all around the Mediterranean. There are also large plantings in Argentina, Chile, Spain, and the United States, especially in California. Because Carignan wines tend to be hard and astringent and often lack character, the juice is usually blended with varieties such as Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. Carignan adds characteristics such as body, color, fruitiness, and length. As it matures Carignan becomes softer and loses its astringency. It can be a fine accompaniment to grilled meats, Poultry, Rabbit, and Sausages.

Tempranillo

Tempranillo (Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinto Fino, Tinto Madrid, Tinto de la Rioja, Grenache de Logrono, Tinto del País, Jacivera, Tinto de Toro; may be the Valdepeñas of California) Legend has it that Tempranillo was brought to Spain by French monks on pilgrimage from Burgundy to Santiago de Compostela, and that it is a variant of Pinot Noir. Scientifically, the resemblance between the two is superficial, and the likelihood is that it originated in northern Spain and spread through Iberia from the Rioja and Navarra regions.

Plantings have remained concentrated overwhelmingly in Spain, but the vine is also important in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz or Aragonez.It is thought to have been first been planted in the Douro Valley in the 1700s by Robert Archibald at Quinta de Roriz, and is a primary grape in that region and the Alentejo. One of the confusing things about Tempranillo is that it is known by a different local name almost everywhere it is grown.

The vine takes its name from “temprana,” meaning “early,” in reference to its trait of ripening quickly. It buds late and needs only a short growing season characterized by sharp swings in temperature between hot days and cool nights to preserve the fruit’s acidity.

A vigorous, moderately productive vine, Tempranillo is best suited to chalky or sandy clay slopes which are not too arid. The thick skinned, deep blue-black berries are high in color and extract but low in acidity, and moderate in aroma, sugar, tannin and potential alcohol, vulnerabilities compensated by careful selection of microclimate and blending with other varieties.

In Spain, Tempranillo is the foundation of the great red wines of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, in concert with Garnacha and Mazuelo, but contributes, as Spain’s fourth most planted vine, to the wines of nearly every producing region. In Portugal’s Alentejo it yields dry wines, but in the Douro Valley it is one of the six best varieties, with Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Cão, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Amarela, for the production of Port.

Tempranillo can produce wines of exceptionally dark color which are lush and seductive rather than complex, with intense black fruit flavors of black cherry, raspberry, currant and notes of plums and tobacco. The grape takes gracefully to oak contact, which adds vanilla and coffee nuances. Lighter versions are deliciously red fruity and soft. Also grown in Argentina, Australia, South Africa and Mexico.