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Great Wine: Muga White Rioja


The Spanish are known to have a red-hot temperament, and it’s reflected in their most distinguished red wines—Tempranillo and Garnacha. Europe’s oldest empire has managed to preserve tradition over centuries, but something new is happening today. When we look at the movement of architectural design happening across the country, it’s clear that Spain is on the cutting edge of modernism. (See great examples of modern Spanish architecture here) Even the wild, Deconstructive architectural curves of Frank Gehry feel right at home at the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao.

To me, it is the Spanish white wines of today which reflect the unabashed modernity and Expressionism of the new world. The 2013 MUGA Blanco Rioja sets a standard for affordable, everyday Spanish white wine. Made from an exotic blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia grapes, all evident on the nose, this is top-flight stylish elegance but grounded in earthy reality. The middle is supple and round and bright—notes of mango stand out and just the right balance of new French oak—and the finish is clean, crisp, acidic with notes of citrus, vanilla, mint and Herbs de Provence. You can taste the traditional and modern at the same time. In today’s paradoxical Spain, classicism and experimentalism coexist, fused by a passion and vision that is barreling forward towards the future.  –J.M.


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March 11, 2015


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