Spain located on the Iberian Peninsula, has over 2.9 million acres planted—making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest being France followed by Italy. This is due, in part, to the very low yields and wide spacing of the old vines planted on the dry, infertile soil found in many Spanish wine regions. The country has an abundance of native grape varieties, with over 400 varieties planted throughout Spain though 80 percent of the country's wine production is from only 20 grapes—including the reds Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Monastrell; the whites Albariño from Galicia, Palomino, Airen, and Macabeo; and the three cava grapes Parellada, Xarel·lo, and Macabeo. Major Spanish wine regions include the Rioja and Ribera del Duero which are known for their Tempranillo production; Valdepeñas, drunk by Unamuno and Hemingway, known for high quality tempranillo at low prices; Jerez, the home of the fortified wine Sherry; Rías Baixas in the northwest region of Galicia that is known for its white wines made from Albariño and Catalonia which includes the Cava and still wine producing regions of the Penedès as well the Priorat region. Spanish wine laws created the Denominación de Origen (DO) system in 1932 and were later revised in 1970. The system shares many similarities with the hierarchical Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system of France, Portugal's Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) and Italy's Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) system.
- Item #: i_383020Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 96James Suckling: 99Another Gran Reserva Rioja makes it into our Top Spanish Wines of 2020, this one being the Prado Enea from Bodegas Muga! A family-owned winery that was founded in 1932, Bodegas Muga is one of the “first growths” of Rioja according to Master of Wine Tim Atkins. It’s stylistically among the “more modern of the traditionalists,” which we’ve found to be a sweet spot for many of our customers. Fullbodied and densely-packed with ripe dark fruits, woodsy balsam, and the typical notes of bottle aging (tobacco, forest floor, truffle). There’s a velvet quality to the ample tannins (thanks to extended aging), along with enough acidity to give the wine life. It’s sure to impress almost any wine lover, especially accompanying rich dishes like roasts with truffle, as well as well-aged cheeses.
Despite the modern advances in winemaking of which Muga makes use, the old-world ways are certainly still a big influence on Prado Enea’s classical style: the fermentation happens naturally without added yeasts, in large 1000 Liter oak vats at natural temperatures, and a long 4 years aging in large American oak vats and smaller French oak barrels. In order to make a more complete wine, and as is typical in Rioja, the 80% Tempranillo is partnered with the classic varieties Garnacha, Mazuelo (aka Carignan), and Graciano.
JAMES SUCKLING'S #3 WINE OF THE YEAR OF 2019!
JAMES SUCKLING 99 POINTS - "The most structured Prado Enea ever. A reduced center palate that is so compact with dark fruit, dark mushrooms and cedary spice. Full body. Wonderfully polished tannins and a long, long finish. Electric acidity. Muscular and well toned. The is a new classic that reminds me of great Spanish wines from the 1940s and 1950s. Better after 2021, but already so impressive."
WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The most classical of the wines from Muga, the 2011 Prado Enea Gran Reserva comes from a warm year that here was cooler than 2012, when they did not produce it. There won't be a 2013 either. So after this 2011, the following vintage will be 2014 but with fewer bottles and then 2015 and 2016. The wine has a developed nose with some tertiary notes, combined with some notes of ripe black fruit and sweet spices. It fees like an open, expressive and hedonistic year for Prado Enea. The palate reveals polished tannins and some balsamic and developed flavors, truffle, forest floor and hints of cigar ash and incense. Stylistically, this could be close to the 2006, which was also surprisingly fresh for the average ripeness found in Rioja in general."
- Item #: i_380276Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95James Suckling: 98JAMES SUCKLING 98 POINTS - "This is an extremely powerful, confident wine. So young and so complex. Immaculate black cherries, plums and blackberries and deeply integrated, spicy oak that's super fresh. The power and build is staggering. It's so rich and so balanced with seamless plum-flavored tannins. Perfect!"
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "In the end, they also showed me the 2015 Torre Muga, even though the wine had only been in bottle for three months. There were no substantial changes in the way this was made—in provenance of the grape, the fermentation or élevage—even though they fine-tune the use of the oak in every vintage. I don't think I've ever tasted such a young and fruit-driven Torre Muga, and even though it felt a little dizzy from the recent bottling, it had great purity and such a structure and build that it is going to need some time in bottle. But this looks like a better vintage than the 2014."
- Item #: i_377941Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94Burghound: 92Decanter: 95DECANTER 95 POINTS - "From a warm vintage with an early harvest, this is a well balanced Rioja with considerable complexity. There's a ripe plum character to the black fruit aromas, along with warm tobacco hints and earthy, undergrowth notes. Like a perfectly stretched tapestry, this shows a taut precision to the winemaking, with admirable balance. Polished black fruit, spice and chocolate notes show good persistence. A sense of freshness and fine tannins with juicy grip on the finish; this has life ahead of it."
WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2015 Roda I feels very complete, from a year of full ripeness when the grapes achieved more nuance and flavor and the tannins seem to have ripened nicely. It's a powerful year with clout, quite classical (but with the touch of French oak), already starting to develop some tertiary aromas and more nuance. There's something balsamic in there, even minty, I'd say. In 2015, it only had 3% Graciano to complement the Tempranillo from old vines that fermented with indigenous yeasts. The élevage lasted 16 months and was in 50/50 new/second use barriques. But the wine was kept in bottle for 48 months before it was released, which I think is important."