Thursday, August 12, 2010

Muga Reserva Rioja 2005

23$ at Costco; call it a recession special. 23$ is a few dollars cheaper than everywhere else. I doubt Costco would have been able to get their hands on this a few years ago. I don't know why I picked this up--I guess I like to stretch the limits of what I think I like and this seemed interesting. The simple fact that this is from Jorge Ordonez probably should have turned me off...But, I had read or heard somewhere that Muga was a traditional Rioja estate...with modern leanings...and I think that's exactly what this wine is. There is no denying that this wine is made in a more modern style: ripe cherries, raspberry, and licorice, along with polished tannins. However, this wine is missing the vanilla milk-shake texture, and is superbly balanced. It's the perfect combination of ripe modern fruit and competent wine making. (Interesting that Tanzer liked this wine more than Parker--probably explains why I liked it. Although lets be honest--who gives a fuck about either one, and who cares about 2 points? 90 vs. 92 points is a pointless discussion if there ever was one.) It isn't as savory, spicy, or light to medium bodied as more traditional Rioja, but it doesn't disappoint me either. We drank this with lamb chops, fried mint, mint and garlic creme fraiche, and a red quinoa that I studded with sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized shallots, and Kalamata olives. B+/A-

A couple things that anyone stumbling across this ought to read--the first is from Horny for Food, ripping on wine writers. Stuff to think about, agree with, and lots of clever bon mots. This piece on Super Tasters from the Cab Franco Files is interesting too, and a nice corollary to Horny for Food slamming contemporary wine critics. Really, who tastes the same things anyways? Lastly, I feel like I should document what we've drank a lot of recently: 

   
Yes, that's wine out of a box. Now mind you, the Octavin is equivalent to 4 bottles of wine. For 12.99 at Costco. We've blown through 2 of these in 3 weeks. Big House Red used to be a Randall Graham brand, but then it got sold or something. I don't really care, but it is interesting to know that this is essentially now part of The Wine Group. Maybe they don't want you to know? Because this is sold under the "Underdog Wine Merchants" moniker...but UWM was formed by the Wine Group as an LLC. All I know is that this is the equivalent of 3.25$ a bottle and it absolutely destroys any other wine that I've ever had in my entire life for $3.25. It's a screaming deal, especially when you consider the fact that one bottle of this at TJ's is $6.99. Ripe cherry fruit, backed up by a somewhat rustic texture. This is basically a fruit bomb, but a really cheap one with enough acidity to go with food. The best part is, you can just have one glass, and it stays fresh. Kitschy? Owned by a big conglomerate? Who the fuck cares, you ought to pick up a few of these and just leave them sitting around your house. A 
 

5 comments:

CabFrancoPhile said...

HFF is going on my reader, that's some Grade A thinking. An older post juxtaposing BioD and Nazism is provocative, but thoughtful. Glad you posted the link.

Joshiemac said...

How long does the Big House box stay drinkable once you poor the first glass?

Jeff said...

Yeah, he writes some funny stuff. I don't even remember how I came across his musings. Doesn't post that often, but when he does, they're always entertaining. I'm sure that you read Saignee too; he's got a good post up there yesterday on the same topic. http://saignee.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/the-new-scale/

Well, the box says it stays drinkable for up to six weeks...who knows if that's right? It was pretty much unchanged after 10 days--drinking like it was just opened. It's not "great" wine or anything, but it's pretty good, especially for the price.

Joshiemac said...

Sounds good for those nights when you want a glass of wine so you open something and end up drinking 3/4 of the bottle just because it's open.

Jeff said...

Yeah, pretty much. Or, for those nights when one bottle isn't sufficient, but two is too much.