BB Review: Muga Rioja Blanco 2016

 
 

READY FOR SOME RIOJA?!

We're exploring the wonderful Rioja region for this round and are kicking things off with a white Rioja. Never had white Rioja before? Find out if this bottle is a must-try! 

 
 
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THE WINE

BOTTLE: Muga Rioja Blanco 2016 - Spain

WHERE WE BOUGHT IT & PRICE: £12.99 (£10.99 in a mix six) from Majestic

ABV & TECH SPECS: 90% viura, 10% malvasía and white garnacha and 13% ABV

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ABOUT RIOJA: The Rioja region is found in a valley in north-central Spain along the Ebro River. The climate is moderated by the Sierra Cantabria, a small but jagged mountain range that helps prevent clouds coming into the Rioja valley. 

For wine, the area is split into 3 sections: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, and each produces a unique style of Rioja due to climate, soil and growing conditions.

ABOUT MUGA: Muga is a family-owned winery that's been producing Rioja wines in various vineyards across the region since 1932. It's currently run by a very energetic third generation who have picked up the baton that spear-headed the modernisation of the winery, making it one of the most forward-thinking bodegas in the region.

You may be more familiar with the red wines of Rioja, but despite only making up around 10% of the production, you can also find white and rosé wines.

This white is a blend of Viura, Malvasia and Garnacha, this wine ferments in new, French-oak casks and is left on its lees for a further 3 months until ready for bottling.

FUN FACT: Muga are the only cellar in Spain with its own cooperage (where they make wooden barrels), a master cooper and three in-house barrel-makers! 

 
 
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THE VERDICT 

CARO: Let’s start by saying that I’m not a mega fan of white Rioja. That said, I’ve only ever tasted one in my life, so not a fair judgement. Let's do this: wow, this smells like sugar-coated peanuts! You know, the kind that totally entices you when wandering around a fairground, despite the fact you had no intention of snacking your way to an AVC. It feels quite syrupy but acidic, boozy but slightly bitter, and I’m still getting tastes of crispy nuts and some lingering spicy honey notes. Okay, I’m leaning towards the dark side of wankery here, so all I’m gonna say is that it’s got a pretty strong personality to it and YES PLEEEEEASE.

ANGELA: I'm throwing myself into that New Year's wines-o-lution I set to taste more Spanish wines, and I'm loving it! I’ve had 3 Spanish whites over the past couple of weeks that have given me that feeling of excitement I love in wines – richness in flavour, body, and interesting nuances. And although this one might not be the winner (that accolade goes to this show stopper) this one also doesn’t disappoint for value. It’s slightly floral on the nose, with a dash of pear and peach. It’s medium-bodied with fresh acidity and just a delicate amount of oak. On a rare Bottle Bitch occasion, my spittoon was nowhere in sight, and I was very happy indeed. So happy the wine lasted all on 30 minutes and I wished I had grabbed another bottle. A great value for a day-drinking summer-sipper, and it's perfect to enjoy with your favourite Bottle Bitches!

KATE: You know the Fintstones*? Well they're a very industrious little family of cave people in America who happen to be spokestoons** for a cereal called Fruity Pebbles. Why am I telling you this? Because this wine smells a little bit like Fruity Pebbles and musk melon. Luckily, it tastes a bit more sophisticated than it smells, and this thirst-quenching white Rioja is packed with notes of prickly pear, melon, mint and honey. I'm happy to report that it's not a quiet white wine and, like the cereals of my youth, I find it incredibly moreish. I wish I could take this wine back to my teens and drink it while I watched Oprah after school, and shovelled bowl after bowl of cereal into my mouth, the milk slowly turning a deep purple from all the fruity food colouring. 

*Fun fact #2: It took me until... mmmm.... 2017 to realise that the Flintstones' name was FLINT STONES. Like, because they're cavemen and flint stones make fire! Get it? Get it?! I didn't. And I'm deeply ashamed. 🤦🏻‍♀️

**I also, through writing this review, have been introduced to the word "spokestoons" and I can't wait to use it in a sentence sometime very soon. 

 
 

WOULD WE HAVE ANOTHER GLASS? We're writing this review as we swelter in 30 degree heat so the answer is conditional: we will happily have another glass (many, in fact) providing this wine is straight from a refrigerator set the coldest setting. Bottoms up!