Not sure you can call two of the same wines of different vintages a true vertical, especially when there are three years separating them.
But, I’m going to give it the ole’ college try. Does community college count?
Had the opportunity to meander out the other day and drop by a wine tasting that just so happened to have the newly released Bodegas Muga Reserva Selección Especial 2014 on the list. Now I know I have the 2011 Vintage of this same wine in my cellar. Always looking for a reason to pull out one of my bottles that have been waiting patiently for me to decide in their favor, I planned to open that 2011 for a dinner in the next day or two so as to compare the two wines.
True to form, and as a number of the better Spanish wines seem to do, Muga doesn’t release their wines until they are ready to be drunk, which is why 2014 is the most recent vintage. The Reserva Selección Especial in 2014 is made from a blend of 70 % Tempranillo, 20 % Garnacha, 7 % Mazuelo and 3% Graciano and aged for 26 months in casks made in their own cooperage from selected French oak and bottle aged until it’s time has come to be released; making this a wine of depth and distinction. Which is exactly what it was! Aromas emanating from the glass of dark fruit and a slight spiciness followed on the palate by dark red berry fruit along with that same spiciness and a modicum of rustic notes lending the wine to its position as a food friendly and desirous wine. At right around $40 a bottle, the price is commensurate with its quality. As an added note, Bodegas Muga makes wines across all price spectrums and from my tastings of other wines they produce, there should be something for everyone.
Vertical wine number two. It should be pointed out that this was not done in exactly the same conditions as the previous wine. In fact, for 2011 I was able to ensure the right temperature of the wine and, as I usually do at home, prepared a meal befitting for such a prestigious wine. That being said, a few things of note; the blend on this wine is 65% Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo with similar oak treatment. Upon opening, I detected a much more fruit driven aroma. That was followed similarly upon the first sip. Bright red fruit, maybe a touch of strawberry or cherry, filled my mouth as well as that rustic quality you would expect from a wine aged for two years in oak. It lingered on with nice acidity and a slight spiciness well into a long finish. Very nice indeed.
While conditions weren’t even, I would still say that I would give 2011 a slight edge over 2014. Both were excellent, and obviously, 2011 has had the benefit of extended bottle aging, but I think the wines were different enough that those differences will continue through the aging process for both. Only thing is, if you’re looking for the wine, you’ll probably find only 2014 on the shelves. If you run across 2011 and you like a slightly more fruit driven wine, grab it!