A Yellow Shade Of Oaky White

Muga, Barrel Fermented White, 2000

Bought to satisfy my curiousity, this is a blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia from one of my favorite Rioja houses. It is obviously oak-aged, that is oaky, but there are plenty of minerals beneath and besides the oak as well as a unique blend of spices, with little or no toffee-caramel notes. It is on the austere side on the palate, the fruit in the background, with enough acidity left after seven years to keep the structure intact. There is evident oak on the palate but somehow it bothers me less than it would in a New World Chardonnay, and I think it's because the varietals are new to me. Or maybe Muga uses the right barrels for the varietals. Whatever, an interesting wine. (Jun. 24, 2007)