2010 Bodegas Muga Rioja Blanco

2010 Bodegas Muga Rioja BlancoPrice: $13.00 via Bodegas Muja*

What They Said:

Per Wine Library “The 2010 Blanco is a blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia fermented in new French oak where it remained sur lie for 4 months. White flowers, mineral, melon, and mineral notes inform the nose of this tasty, lively, impeccably balanced wine. This lengthy effort is an outstanding value for drinking over the next 3-4 years.” – 90 Points, Jay Miller The Wine Advocate

What I Think:

(13%) 90% Viura, 10% Malvasia – Ripe, lifted citrus blossoms on the nose. Fuller bodied, juicy and lush on the palate with peach, tangerine and melon flavors. Turns a bit oily with a mineral driven acidity before the oak imparts a pleasant vanilla creaminess which leads to a tart, spiced, finish that lingers nicely. An interesting use of oak (this one is barrel-fermented) as it is clearly present but interplays well with the vibrant, ripe fruit. The end result is a wine that strikes a nice balance between the fruit, richness and acidity. At $13 or so retail this one shows some nice QPR.

Wine Geek Notes: 90pts Wine Advocate, 88pts Wine Spectator

Rating: Interesting (this one had a unique appeal that I look forward to trying again)

*This wine was received as a press sample.

2007 Condesa de Sarabella Viura

2007 Condesa de Sarabella ViuraPrice: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Evaki

What They Said:

Per the Importer “Made from ancient low yield viura bush vines planted in the Denomination De Origen high in the mountains of northern spain. It has rich aromas of banana and citrus fruits. Serve as a aperitif or with rice dishes, fish and shellfish.”

What I Think:

Viura was a new grape to me so I did some research. The Wine Info Site was the first stop where I learned this; “In Spain, Macabeo is an important variety for the production of white wine. In Rioja this variety is called Viura.” I paused for a second before moving on as this one is from Catalyud which is a nearby neighbor of Rioja where they apparently use Viura to describe the grape as well. Next, the Wine Geeks clued me in to that “Together with the varietals Parellada and Xarel-lo it is used in the production of the sparkling Spanish wine Cava.”. I dig Cava, cool.

Thoroughly educated I open the bottle. Take a sniff…No banana that’s for sure. Some light fruits on top of notes of grass and hay. On the tongue the initial impression is of Viognier based on the up front viscosity. As we reach the mid palate my thought shifts to a light Sauvignon Blanc which lasts all the way through the citrusy finish. All in all, this wine does not stand up and get noticed and could easily be considered plain. I’ve seen it referred to as a “pleasant little white” which I think is a perfect description. Interested in experiencing something new? Give it a try. Otherwise look elsewhere.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2005 Marques de Caceres Rioja Dry White Wine

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Vineyard Brands

What They Said:

Per wine.com “Very clear and bright straw colour. Aromas of pears, white flowers and mineral notes come through on the nose. Very pleasant in the mouth where delicious flavours of pears and apples blend with finesse with this wine’s fresh racy character. Very good length.”

What I Think:

Hmm, guess I should have looked at these labels along time ago. For at least three years I thought that these bottles were from Marques de Riscal. In this process of this discovery I also once again was amazed at the values TJ’s can offer, this bottle is on sale for $7.99 (from $9.99) on wine.com

Once I sorted that out I needed to figure out exactly what Viura grapes were all about as this one is 100% Viura grapes. It turns out that this is the same grape used to make Cava, interesting. I started off with this one too cold again, after some nice hand rubbing it began to show some character. First thing you notice in the mouth is that it has a nice weight/texture on the tongue. The mid-palate reminds you of everything refreshing. It is fresh, simple and crisp before it fades to a tangy, lemony finish that is quite tart, it make you almost pucker. Initially it reminds me of a poor man’s sauvignon blanc and I get to thinking about what it would look like next to the Kono bottling from New Zealand. The Kiwi offering sure has a lot more versatility. We had this one with seafood and I wouldn’t want to pair it with much else. Given that I know the Kono is better, but by how much? Enough to justify the cost?

I asked my wife what she thought and before I told her the price she said she would buy it again, when I told her the price, she said no doubt! I wasn’t quite as excited as she was but this will obviously find its way home again as she does more of the shopping than I do.

There is still some left in the bottle as I type this, should there be any changes I will be sure to pass them along.

Rating: 12th Bottle