Bodegas Muga takes you on a full-flavored visit to the Rioja region of Spain.
The producer, notable in part for the variety and number of its oak barrels, makes very appealing wines at almost all price points. The winery is a reliable, popular choice, whether you're ready for tapas or heartier fare.
And on the cusp of spring, Bodegas Muga brings some sunshine to the table, too.
The 2007 Muga Reserva presents a fine balance of red fruit and toasty oak, in a red wine that's 70 percent tempranillo, along with 20 percent garnacha. It was aged two years in oak. The result, a concentrated, satisfying winner ideal with grilled red meat. About $30.
More impressive is the 2004 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva, which comes in at 80 percent tempranillo. The old-vines wine spent three years in oak barrels and three in bottle. It has become considerably less tannic and tasting it now reveals fine fruit, a suggestion of spice and some pepperiness. It's also excellent with red meat. About $60.
Muga makes a pleasing, lively sparkling wine in the Cava Conde de Haro, which delivers some citrus notes. Very refreshing and very versatile, this wine is a match for shellfish and can jump-start any party on its own. About $25.
And if you're looking for an easygoing sipper, consider the 2010 Muga Cask-Fermented White. The creamy wine, 90 percent viura and 10 percent malvasia, offers a suggestion of pear and a light, floral quality. About $18.