Casa Jimenez

Wines & Tapas

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Hola Everyone,

This week we will be closed Wednesday 4th of July so roll by today to stock up! We will reopen Thursday. New Inventory in like the outstanding R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo 2005 reserva $39.99. or Juan Gil’s Silver label & La Atalaya del Camino for $15.99 ea.

This Friday we’re having a wine tasting from 6 to 8pm, $5 a person. Due to limited glass ware we will be giving out glasses to you if you purchase a bottle to consume on premise. Remember there’s no corkage fee. Also give me feed back by responding to this email or on Facebook regarding; if we were to offer, every now and again, a higher end tasting on Fridays for $10-$15 a person? Glass ware would be provided for those tastings.

On to the final leg of the Historical Train District in Haro, La Rioja Alta:

The story of Bodegas Muga. Some of this is off of their website interposed with my take on certain things.

When you get to the winery the first structure you see is the beautiful Tower of Muga. On the ground level and to the left is one of the original steam locomotives and oak casks used to transport wine and grapes to France.

When you walk in you’re in Muga’s store front and tasting bar. There you see pics of all the small plots of the vineyards, all of the bottles they currently have available, and historical artifacts, such as certificates and acknowledgements, from as far back as 1877.

Bodegas Muga was founded in 1932 by Isaac Muga and his wife, Aurora Caño, both of whom came from families with a long tradition of activity within the wine-making industry. Over the years, Muga wines have gained international recognition and acclaim.

The vineyards of Bodegas Muga are located in the northern region of the province of La Rioja, in the Oja and Tirón river valleys in the sub-region of the Qualified Designation of Origin known as La Rioja Alta. The River Oja Valley (RIOJA) enjoys a unique climate, not only as the result of its geographical location and orientation, but also due to its surrounding climatic influences. Mediterranean, Atlantic and Continental climatic elements combine harmoniously to create ideal conditions for growing high quality grapes. This plethora of soil-based and climatic influences are centered on an area with a radius of barely 20 km, where long growth cycles ensure that grapes and all their components reach a delicate, prolonged and complex state of ripeness which is, without a doubt, the key to the region’s potential for producing some of the world’s most exquisite wines.

From there we were taken to see the process of wine making. Starting off with the cubillos that press the grapes, after having already gone through to be stemmed, then to the huge (up to/over) 12,000 liter oak fermenting vats that start the fermentation process.

Then we were taken through the family’s bottle cemetery (Prado Enea Gran Reserva 1976 must have been good!!)

We then journeyed into the barrel ageing room. Damn it looks beautiful!! During the racking of the barrels (which is a process that occurs every 6 months, or so, where as the wine evaporates and sedimentation starts to build, the wine is moved from it’s current barrel into a freshly cleaned barrel which is then filled to the brim. Barrels are cleaned with pressurized water and a small sulfur dioxide that is put on a clothes hanger looking thing and then lit on fire. The smoke that is emitted sanitizes the barrel) they use a candle and a glass cup to check the wine, we were lucky enough to be offered a taste of this young wine, and although gritty it was on track to being extraordinary. The racking by the way is done by 3-4 doods using nothing but their hands and small lift. All the wineries do this racking.

At Muga, they make their own oak vats and casks, and carry out all the wine-making, ageing and storage activities using oak. Their casks are made from French and American oak and are replaced at least once every ten years. For Bodegas Muga, tradition is a way of life that is now so deeply rooted, that it has become almost law. Their tradition is based on wood, whether it be used to form, tubs, casks, beams or pillars.

We then were tasted on the line up and were able to meet two of the Muga sons, who tasted along with us. A great time was had by all at one of the coolest wineries around! Bodegas Muga. Thank you!!

Side note we were referred to go eat at an Asador (Restaurant that specializes in stone oven roasted meat on spits, like suckling lamb for instance) called Terrete. The server ended up being the 5th generation owner and wine maker. He gave us a tour of the underground caves where they ferment the wine in concrete vats, age them in barrels and bottle, ALL UNDER THE FREAKING RESTAURANT WHICH LOOKS TINY FROM THE OUTSIDE!!! We went several stories deep under ground it was insane!!!! If you are ever in Haro go visit this amazing place to eat.

That’s it for Rioja, Next week we journey to Ribera del Duero!!!!

See you when you get here Vine Cats! Have a fun yet safe 4th of July!


Andy “Ace de la Tampa” Jimenez
Casa Jimenez
3830 Gunn Hwy
Tampa, FL 33618

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