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Wine of the Week

Spanish Wines Still a Bargain

By Wes Marshall, Fri., Sept. 9, 2011

Wine of the Week

Despite the seemingly endless devaluation of the dollar against the Euro, most Spanish wines are still bargains compared to wines of similar quality from France or California. For the uninitiated, the breadth of Spanish wines and their price points can be quite confusing. Prices can run from the 2-euro-a-bottle Txakoli along the Basque coast to more than $1,000 for a bottle of Ribera del Duero or Priorat wine in the U.S. To make it even more confusing, the same grape can have multiple names based on where it is grown in Spain. One of the best strategies is to find a brand you like, pick a price point, and just dive in.

Bodegas Muga is a brand that really delivers value. It is famous for two very expensive red wines, Aro and Torre Muga, which sell well in American steak houses and other haunts of expense-account diners. But for our purposes, I recommend checking out the winery's least expensive wines. The Muga Blanco is a gorgeous and aromatic white wine made from 90% Viura (called Macabeo in the Cava-making areas of Spain) and 10% from the Malvasia grape. Prices range from $18 to $14, depending on where you buy it and whether it's on sale.

Muga Rosado is priced even lower, usually around $12, and is a bit bolder than most Rosés. It is the perfect Texas Rosé, delicious when it's ice cold but stout enough to stand up to a grilled hamburger. Most Rosés are made from red grapes, but Muga uses a healthy amount of the white Viura along with Tempranillo and Garnacha. That combination of red and white grapes gives it some of the best of both worlds.

Muga's Blanco and Rosado are available at many fine wine stores throughout Central Texas. The company makes a total of nine wines, and as prices escalate, they become harder to find. If you fall in love with Muga's wines, the better stores will always be happy to do a special order.

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