Muga - New World Meets Old World
The history of Bodegas Muga is intrinsically linked to that of the Muga family itself. Bodegas Muga was founded in 1932 by Isaac Muga and his wife, Aurora Caño, both of whom came from families with a long tradition of activity within the wine-making industry. Over the years, Muga wines have gained international recognition and acclaim, and from working with just a few thousand kilos of grapes per year, the bodega has now expanded its processing capacity to over one and half million kilos.
Today, new generations of the Muga family continue to join the family business, making Bodegas Muga a true symbol of family tradition.
The Bodegas Muga vineyards are situated on the east and south-facing slopes of the Obarenes Mountains, which are sculptured into terraces to form a series of small plots. The soil in this region is mainly clayey and calcareous, although some regions tend to be more ferrous and alluvial. The land is divided into small plots with varying physical and chemical properties and their own individual and clearly defined personalities. This aspect is particularly important with regard to tempranillo grapes, in which the characteristics of the soil have a marked influence on the final flavor of the wine.
Experience has taught them to value and make use of the different virtues of grapes grown in different soils, in order to extract their maximum possible oenological potential. Other grape varieties that are used in a lower proportion, but which help balance and enhance the tempranillo strain are mazuelo, graciano and garnacha.
The River Oja Valley (RIOJA) enjoys a unique climate, not only as the result of its geographical location and orientation, but also due to its surrounding climatic influences. Mediterranean, Atlantic and Continental climatic elements combine harmoniously to create ideal conditions for growing high quality grapes.
This plethora of soil-based and climatic influences are centered on an area with a radius of barely 20 km, where long growth cycles ensure that grapes and all their components reach a delicate, prolonged and complex state of ripeness which is, without a doubt, the key to the region's potential for producing some of the world's most exquisite wines.
The Bodega Meticulously faithful to their traditional wine-making methods, at Bodegas Muga they use oak tubs and vats throughout the entire process.
At Muga, they make their own oak vats and casks, and carry out all their wine-making, ageing and storage activities using oak. The casks are made from French and American oak and are replaced at least once every ten years.
For Bodegas Muga, tradition is a way of life that is now so deeply rooted, that it has become almost law. Their tradition is based on wood, whether it be used to form, tubs, casks, beams or pillars. Muga has changed the rules of ageing, exceeding the minimum limits to produce crianzas that taste like reservas, and reservas that taste like grandes reservas. Nevertheless, although it may seem somewhat paradoxical, this working philosophy has not prevented them from making wines that are perfectly in tune with modern times.
by Andrew Lampasone
Traveling The World
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