Shortly after I had struggled downstairs and checked out, two white passenger vans rolled up to the hotel and two female drivers emerged. They introduced themselves as Ana Muga (granddaughter of the founder) and Ana Lopezcano Lamarian, PR Manager. They loaded us up and we were off to the first stop on our tour.
Bodegas Muga, which was founded in Haro in 1932 by Isaac Muga Martinez and his wife Aurora Caño, owns 251 ha (620 acres) of vineyards distributed across five properties (El Estepal, La Loma, Baltracones, La Loma Alta, and Sajazarre) and controls another 370 acres through agreements with other area winegrowers. According to the Muga website, these mostly south-facing vineyards are located in the foothills of the Obaronses Mountain in the Rioja Alta region on primarily clay and limestone soils.
|Doug Frost MS/MW mentally composing his next tasting note|
On our way into the vineyard I had seen white smoke rising into the sky from a metal contraption but had taken no further notice of it. On my return to the barn area, I saw that a table had been positioned in front of the barn and that a white tablecloth had been draped over said table. On the table were bottles of Cava, glasses and loaves of chunky bread. The white smoke was emanating from a fire which was being used to cook sausages for our breakfast. I had not planned on this. It was too early to eat something this heavy. Especially with lunch less than two hours away. Oh well.
The Cava served was the Muga Cava Conde de Haro, a blend of 95% Viura and 10% Malvasia sourced from north-facing, high-altitude vineyards located in the same area where the grapes for Prado Enea are grown. These grapes are fermented in large oak casks and sit on the post-second-fermentation lees for 14 months. According to K&L.com, Muga may be the first estate in the Rioja DO to grow, produce, bottle, and age Cava. This Cava was very refreshing with small, tight bubbles, nice acidity, and pear and apple fruit. Its zippiness brought me back to life.
|Ana Lopezcano Lamarian and Ana Muga|
|Umay and his little red book|
|Robert smiling because he will soon be rid of us|
|Isaac Muga -- can you hear me now?|
|It's all good|
|joie de vivre|
After observing the pickers in the field, partaking of a hearty breakfast, and hamming it up for the cameras, we loaded up and headed to the next stop -- the winery.
©Wine -- Mise en abyme