Muga 2004 Rioja Reserva ($28.99)
Labeled "unfiltered," it's a very dark ruby color almost all the way to the violet edge. A bunch of juicy cherries in the aroma, with back notes of earth and just a hint of fragrant black pepper. Cherries on the palate add a whiff of vanilla; crisp acidity and smooth but mouth-coating tannins. Very young for a Reserva, still quite "primary," it will reward years of cellar time. Still, it's enjoyable now, particularly with bold red-meat flavors on the table, and carries its 14% alcohol well. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections Inc., US Importer: Cutting Edge Selections Inc., Fairfax, Ohio; from Jorge Ordoñz. (Jan 3, 2009)

FOOD MATCH: As noted, young Rioja is a red-meat wine. It was fine with a hearty winter dish of lamb and white beans.



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