08 Dec Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Muga 2020 Blanco Rioja, Spain
When one thinks of Rioja, Spain, red wine is likely what comes to mind. But, I was drinking a Rioja wine this week that was a white wine. It was the Muga 2020 Blanco from Rioja, Spain and it is the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Tempranillo is the king of the region and Viura, known as Macabeo in the south of France, is the queen. Viura is the most important white grape variety grown in Rioja, and offers fruity and floral aromas and bright acidity. Other white grapes grown in Rioja are Malvasía de Rioja (not related to other Malvasias), Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, Maturana Blanca and Turruntés de Rioja. Founded in 1932, Bodegas Muga is a family-owned wine estate in the Rioja region of Spain. A traditional winery known for their red wines, they also produce white wines, rosados, and sparkling wines.
The 2020 Muga Rioja Blanco is a blend of Viura, Garnacha Blanca, and Malvasía de Rioja sourced from calcareous clay and alluvial soils. The grapes are hand-harvested followed by a light maceration of the must with the skins in the press. Fermentation takes place in wooden vats and new, lightly-toasted, French-oak casks and the wine remains in the casks for an additional three months after fermentation with lees stirring.
The 2020 Muga Rioja Blanco is a straw-yellow color with a very pretty nose of white flowers, citrus and apple aromas. The wine is rich on the midpalate and finishes with a crisp acidity and chalky minerality. This is a wine that is great to pair with grilled fish or shellfish and only retails for $15-$20 across the country.
Unfortunately, Rioja Blanco wines are exceptionally rare as they make up only ten percent of the region’s production so look out for the 2020 Muga Rioja Blanco.