I am very much of the idea that everyone should enjoy wine in their own way. Wine can be an easily pretentious topic, and it should not be. It angers me when it does. The allure and idea of experiencing different varietals from different regions are fascinating to me; that is why it is essential to be open and to continually be experiencing new wines from different wine producers and diverse wine regions. Your wine preferences should always be about your tastes, regardless of what is deemed trendy or cool.
It is just as simple as that.
I subscribe to the philosophy that wines should always be at least two things: Affordable and Approachable. Meaning that you should never have to overspend for a bottle of wine, the value should always be somewhere between $10.00 to $35.00 bucks, and you should be able to easily find fantastic wines from excellent winemakers at around $10.00-$15.00 regardless of your wine preferences and without breaking your budget.
Tempranillo grapes and Garnacha grapes are two of my favorite varietals, and you can often find me drinking Tempranillo from Rioja or Ribera del Duero wine regions. I have a deep fondness for wines from those particular regions, and just like I stated earlier, wine preferences are a very subjective topic. I tend to gravitate towards the non-nobility family of wines (Merlot, Syrah, Pinot noir, Cabernet, etc.). Those types of wines bore me, and I usually steer away from them. When I look at a wine list from a restaurant, I like to see a list of diverse and complex wines. It is a huge turn off for me when I see a wine list at a bar or restaurant with only wines from what is considered the nobility of wine varietals, which tells me that their wine selection is lazy and has no personality.
The particular wine I want to share with you today is a 2014 Reserva (aged for two years and spent one year on Oak barrel). It is 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Mazuelo and Graciano. You can taste dark and red berries on the nose, smokey, oaky, vibrant ruby colors. Medium to full-bodied, and a beautiful long finish. If you can still find a Muga Reserva from 2011, do yourself a favor and buy it. When it comes to my favorite wines, those bottles that I tend to consider as my favorite comfort wines, you will always find somewhere at the very top of my list wines from Bodegas Muga.
A few interesting things about this family-owned winery: They have been around since 1932. They are the only cellar in Spain with a maestro Cubero (master cooper) and three in-house barrel-makers, which gives their wine a unique and fascinating characteristic.
Their wines are grown in five distinct vineyards throughout La Rioja region, most notably their vineyard in Sajazarra. It is located near the highest altitude of La Rioja, which gives their wines more significant aging potential. They produce many exciting wines, like, Muga white (90% Viura, 10% Garnacha Blanca), Torre Muga (75% Tempranillo, 15% Manzuelo, 10% Graciano) and they even produce a deliciously refreshing Rose, for those hot summer days.
So, give wines from Bodegas Muga a try; I suggest their Red Reserva. You can pair it with some Jamon Serrano, Prosciutto, Soppressata, and any nice stinky cheese. I prefer goat cheese or even some Manchego, Mahon, or Idiazabal cheese. It also goes well with some steak, ribs, pork, and lamb.
Everyone’s palate is different, so enjoy this or any other wine for that matter as you please, and pair it with whatever foods you think compliments your taste best. However you decide to enjoy your wine, always remember that a wine bottle is more than just fermented grape. A bottle of wine captures the substance and the spirit from the actual harvest of a grape varietal; it also captures the place, the culture, and the soil from where it was grown, as well as the passion of the people who harvested and produced it. Salud!