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Otto

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WTN: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Otto » Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:56 pm

I gave a small tasting to the personnel of my book shop. My colleague whom I run the shop with, imports top quality beers (like Cantillon which rocks, BTW!) to Finland and has a few times invited us to try out some of his selection. I decided to return the favour and open up a few great bottles which intended to show what the areas are like. And of course I opened up a few Musars as they are rather like Cantillon (a favourite of us all) in many respects. I was very happy that the Musars and the Sherry at the end were also favourites of the group.

  • N.V. Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Cuvee No. 729 - France, Champagne (4/1/2006)
    Slightly evolved colour. The nose is lovely and fresh with apples and all the savoury elements required in Champagne, also a bit of oak, rather earthy thanks to the third of Meunier. The mousse is small. The palate is prominently fruity and earthy, with lovely acid balance, finely integrated oak, and a fairly long aftertaste. A nice fruit forward Champage. Very good
  • 1997 Chateau Musar - Lebanon, Bekaa Valley (4/1/2006)
    A fine rustic and tangy nose, with the typical Musar notes of rust and tomato - and of course Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. It also a little raisiny due to the hot year. The palate is full bodied, with fine ripe fruit, little ripe tannins, and high - almost harsh - acids. Very good, but would be better without the raisininess.
  • 1998 Chateau Musar Blanc - Lebanon, Bekaa Valley (4/1/2006)
    Gold. Pleasantly deep nose of grape, herbal bitterness, nuts and a little oak. The palate is very full bodied, with fine acidity, quite tannic for a white wine. Long. The wine is like a coiled up spring. Needs age. Lots of it.
  • 2001 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (4/1/2006)
    Very dark red. Nose of blueberry and cherry liqeur, vanilla, oak, sweet fruit, dill, slight earthyness - has this become spoofulated? The palate is very full bodied, with lots of oak, much extraction, fine acidity and tannins. Hmmmm. I used to like this reserva very much. Has this changed recently to a spoofulated style, or have my tastes changed? Try in a year to see what age brings along. Undecided.
  • 2001 Château Brillette - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc (4/1/2006)
    Dark red. A rather oaky nose but with lovely cassis and leafyness. The palate is rather full bodied with plentiful tannins and with lovely acidity - but too extracted? I really can't say. This is very savoury but seems to have hints of spoofulation.Very good if you like "Parkerized" wines, adequate if not.
  • 2002 Jacques Prieur Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin (4/1/2006)
    Dark. The nose is more prominently oaky than the last bottle, with only a slight saltiness and vegetality. The palate is very sweetly fruity, with fine acidity, but not very savoury. Long, very good, but a little less oak would have been great!
  • N.V. Gonzalez-Byass Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Matusalem Oloroso Dulce Viejo - Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry (4/1/2006)
    Brown. Fantastically deep scent of rancio, raisins and espresso. The palate is very sweet but supported by the rancio and high and intense acidity. Lovely.

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Cheers,
Otto
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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Jenise » Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:03 pm

2001 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (4/1/2006)
Very dark red. Nose of blueberry and cherry liqeur, vanilla, oak, sweet fruit, dill, slight earthyness - has this become spoofulated? The palate is very full bodied, with lots of oak, much extraction, fine acidity and tannins. Hmmmm. I used to like this reserva very much. Has this changed recently to a spoofulated style, or have my tastes changed? Try in a year to see what age brings along. Undecided.



I recently thought EXACTLY the same thing. So if two of us are thinking it...well, that's not a good sign.
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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by David Lole » Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:37 pm

Otto,

Could you please define spoofulated? I'm confused and you're the linguist. I can relate to spoof as a parody and something else! Tell me in chat if you want.
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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Jenise » Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:41 pm

Otto, since posting my first response to you, I was on the phone with the Spain buyer at K & L Wine Merchants in San Francisco. She herself is Spanish and grew up drinking the wines we all talk about--Lopez de Heredia was a family favorite. On the subject of modernization, she said that "You know what, a lot of people are tasting the 01's and thinking they've been modernized, when in fact it's just that the vintage produced such ripe, big wines; compare it to the difference between 98 and 00 Bordeauxs." She has a point.
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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Rahsaan » Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:44 pm

David Lole wrote:Otto,

Could you please define spoofulated?


Tricked up technological false/untrue wine. So yes, a parody of real wine if you like.
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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Otto » Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:06 pm

Jenise wrote:Otto, since posting my first response to you, I was on the phone with the Spain buyer at K & L Wine Merchants in San Francisco. She herself is Spanish and grew up drinking the wines we all talk about--Lopez de Heredia was a family favorite. On the subject of modernization, she said that "You know what, a lot of people are tasting the 01's and thinking they've been modernized, when in fact it's just that the vintage produced such ripe, big wines; compare it to the difference between 98 and 00 Bordeauxs." She has a point.


Fair enough. Give me a cool vintage then, rather.

Rahsaan wrote:
David Lole wrote:Otto,

Could you please define spoofulated?


Tricked up technological false/untrue wine. So yes, a parody of real wine if you like.


Nice word spoofulation isn't it? Here's how a Therapist defined it:
"--bigger is usually better;
--smoothness is the ultimate ideal for all wine;
--lower yields and longer hangtime must equal better flavor, without exception;
--prunes and raisins are desirable fruit flavors;
--acidity is overrated;
--any flavor not related to fruit or oak is probably better avoided."

For the etymology of the term see here: http://www.datamantic.com/joedressner/comment/1788/

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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Tom N. » Sun Apr 02, 2006 11:38 pm

Hi Otto,

Last year I purchased a case of Muga Rioja Reserva 2001 and I have had two bottles. This is a huge wine from a supposedly good year and although it may seem Parkerized, I don't think it was intentionally made that way. I agree that 2001 was just a really ripe year. That being said, I found both bottles drank much better the second day than the first and maybe even slightly better than that the third day. My take on this wine was that it needs age, perhaps quite a bit. I plan on maybe opening one bottle a year starting late this year and even then I plan on decanting it at least two hours before drinking.

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Muga non spoofulated.

by Jude Fisher » Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:19 am

Having had the 2001 recently I agree with the non-spoofulated verdict. The wine is certainly full-throttle and very ripe but it does not have that Nirvana Nevermind over-produced feel - rather just that the style has trended towards a slightly bigger frame and the vintage delivered very ripe fruit.
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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Otto » Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:15 am

Ok. As the verdict seems to be that it is just the vintage, I'll buy a couple and forget them for a few years and see what happens. But I generally do prefer cooler vintages to ripe ones (because they seem over-ripe to me usually), but we'll see :)

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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Paul B. » Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:54 pm

Rahsaan wrote:Tricked up technological false/untrue wine


I guess that's the sort of thing that Aimé Guibert had in mind when he famously proclaimed, "Soyons clairs, le vin est mort!"
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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Manuel Camblor » Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:22 pm

Jenise wrote:2001 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (4/1/2006)
Very dark red. Nose of blueberry and cherry liqeur, vanilla, oak, sweet fruit, dill, slight earthyness - has this become spoofulated? The palate is very full bodied, with lots of oak, much extraction, fine acidity and tannins. Hmmmm. I used to like this reserva very much. Has this changed recently to a spoofulated style, or have my tastes changed? Try in a year to see what age brings along. Undecided.



I recently thought EXACTLY the same thing. So if two of us are thinking it...well, that's not a good sign.


Though the 2001 Muga Reserva seems to me to be quite extracted and a tad heavy in the new wood department, I'm not sure I'd cal it especially "spoofulated". Sure enough, Muga seems to have been ramping up the new oak treatments in all their bottlings (except for Prado Enea) over the past several vintages. This is clearest when you compare, say, what the Reserva Selección Especial 1995 was like on release, and what its 2001 brother (the current release) is.

The Muga Reserva bottling isn't quite what it was back in the late eighties or the early nineties. But, at least in my view, its level of spoofulation is low compared to what others in the region are doing.

Of course, I really care very little either way, since to me Rioja in general, except perhaps for López de Heredia, some of La Rioja Alta and maybe a couple of bottlings from other houses, is just about dead.

One note I find curious in Otto's post is the one for the Jacquesson "Cuvée 729". Otto, you describe it as "advanced-looking" (or words to that effect), which doesn't quite square off with the last bottles of this wine I've sampled (I've opened three in total since February). The wine seemed to me to be extremely young, fresh and, above all, though it had generous fruit presence, it was more of a mineral-driven little beast, with plenty of angularity at this moment. Consistent notes on al three bottles.

Curious, no?
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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Manuel Camblor » Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:26 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:
Fair enough. Give me a cool vintage then, rather.



Try 2002. Good thing about Ma' Nature. She always manages to provide a pleasing, structured little vintage after the big, ultrarripe ones.
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LL
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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Otto » Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:49 pm

Manuel Camblor wrote:
One note I find curious in Otto's post is the one for the Jacquesson "Cuvée 729". Otto, you describe it as "advanced-looking" (or words to that effect), which doesn't quite square off with the last bottles of this wine I've sampled (I've opened three in total since February). The wine seemed to me to be extremely young, fresh and, above all, though it had generous fruit presence, it was more of a mineral-driven little beast, with plenty of angularity at this moment. Consistent notes on al three bottles.

Curious, no?


Slightly evolved colour was perhaps a bad choice of words. Deep would be better - reflecting the natural darker colour that a significant percentage of the Pinots would cause. My bad, as seems to be the fashion to say on the other side of the pond. The actual notes on the scent and taste would, I hope at least, agree with you asessment that this is young and in need of a few more years cellaring. Just one thing: I would rather say earthy than mineral-driven. But this, I admit, is splitting hairs.

Manuel Camblor wrote:Try 2002. Good thing about Ma' Nature. She always manages to provide a pleasing, structured little vintage after the big, ultrarripe ones.


Gladly I'll try that! Why, BTW, is yesterday's over-ripe today the ripe and yesterday's ripe today's lean vintage? (Ok, ok, I'm trolling, sorry. I just hate most modern trends in wine....)

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Re: TNs: Musars, Muga, Bx, frigging fantastic Sherry

by Manuel Camblor » Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:06 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:
Manuel Camblor wrote:Slightly evolved colour was perhaps a bad choice of words. Deep would be better - reflecting the natural darker colour that a significant percentage of the Pinots would cause. My bad, as seems to be the fashion to say on the other side of the pond. The actual notes on the scent and taste would, I hope at least, agree with you asessment that this is young and in need of a few more years cellaring. Just one thing: I would rather say earthy than mineral-driven. But this, I admit, is splitting hairs.


Funny, I remember the wine as quite chalky and nervy. But you're right, it's just plitting hairs... I've put some of this away, it's so damn good...

Manuel Camblor wrote:Gladly I'll try that! Why, BTW, is yesterday's over-ripe today the ripe and yesterday's ripe today's lean vintage? (Ok, ok, I'm trolling, sorry. I just hate most modern trends in wine....)


You ad me both... The problem is that these aren't just "modern trends" in winemaking resulting in these often weird, sometimes monstruous blueberry milkshakes (Jayson Cohen's felicitous expression, which I am adopting from now on). I do believe we have managed to screw up the world enough that climate change will eventually destroy wine as we once knew it. Pretty soon it will be impossible to find Burgundy that doesn't taste like especially sweaty Northern Rhône, and Northern Rhône that doesn't taste distressingly Algerian.

A bleak view, I know. I hope I'm proven wrong...
Best,

LL

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