90 Points - [Refers to 2011 vintage] - "The 2011 Muga Rose is a blend of around 60% Garnacha, 30% Viura and 10% “other” varieties and Jorge Muga was at pains to point out that the vines are specifically cultivated for the rose and not the bi-product of another red. It has a delightful light rose petal and orange blossom bouquet that has great definition and subtlety. The palate is fresh and very well-balanced with crisp citrus fruit inflected with apricot, rosewater and white peach. This is one of the finest Rioja rose wines you will find. Drink now." -Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
COMPOSITION: 60% Garnacha, 30% Viura and 10% Tempranillo
90 Points - [Refers to 2011 vintage] - "Very pale pink. Spicy orange, strawberry and floral aromas show very good clarity and energy. Tangy, sappy red fruit flavors are enlivened by dusty minerality and a hint of white pepper. Finishes with very good cut and length, leaving orange zest and floral notes behind." -Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.
90 Points - [Refers to 2010 vintage] - "Light, bright pink. High-pitched aromas of redcurrant and strawberry, with complicating notes of blood orange and white pepper. Dry and racy, offering lively red fruit and citrus flavors that show very good depth and intensity. Finishes bright and nervy, with lingering spiciness and an echo of blood orange. I could drink this all day."
ABOUT THE PRODUCER:
Bodegas Muga has made the Rioja rosado since Isaac Muga founded the winery in 1932.
"Originally, Bodegas Muga was so small there was not enough room to age the wines," says winemaker Jorge Muga. "My grandfather's main business was rosés and young reds." Today, Muga has more space and makes gran reserva reds, but he refuses to treat his rosado as a second-class wine.
"Traditionally, rosé [in Rioja] was made with lower quality grapes—that's why it had a very bad reputation in Spain," he explains. "The reason for our success in rosé is that we never thought of this wine as 'Plan B,' but as a wine with its own personality."
Muga's grapes come from terraced vineyards on the foothills of the Obarenes mountains, in Rioja Alta. He uses a mix of grape varieties, both red and white, for his rosado. It's usually two-thirds Garnacha, with some Viura, and then small amounts of varying grapes such as Tempranillo or Malvasia or Mazuelo, depending on the vintage. The grapes are picked by hand and pressed after a short soak; Muga believes the Garnacha must be handled very gently. The juice ferments in small oak tanks.
In the past decade, the winery has doubled the amount of rosado it produces. The category now accounts for about 10 percent of Bodegas Muga's wine, with about a quarter of the rosado production going to North America.