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Muriel Wines champions diversity across the Rioja region

Viña Muriel has released three new wines to help consumers discover greater diversity in the Rioja region. db finds out more.

Muriel Wines is a major Spanish wine group, with a special focus on foreign markets. Its origin lies in Elciego, Rioja Alavesa, where it has been located for almost 100 years after being founded by Jose Murua, – who named his business by combining the family name Murúa with Elciego where the winery is based.

In 1986, his son, Julián Murúa, took over the winemaking and created Bodegas Muriel. Today, Javier Murúa, third generation family member, has joined the fold. Over the decades the family has created a group of brands and wineries first in Rioja Alavesa, and gradually, in the rest of the sub-areaas of the DOCa Rioja and other Spanish regions.

Currently, the Muriel Wines group manages a total of eight wineries: four in the DOCa Rioja (Muriel, Viña Eguía, Luis Alegre, Marqués de Elciego and the historic Conde de los Andes, in Ollauri); one of varietal wines of the land (Real Compañía de Vinos); one in the DO Rías Baixas (Pazo Cilleiro); and, most recently, Valdecuriel, in the DO Ribera del Duero.

Bodegas Muriel CEO Javier Murúa explains: “We blend wines from vineyards that confer ripeness and structure with others that give freshness and acidity.”

He adds: “This is determined by the vineyard-specific terroir. In Elciego, white calcareous soils produce mature and ripe wines, while dark alluvial soils offer freshness, fruit and acidity. This is the magic of blending different terroirs with the same Tempranillo grape.”

Until recently, wineries were not always allowed to mention the exact origin of wines on bottle labels. However, after new classifications were introduced in 2017 and implemented in 2019, that situation has evolved and the introduction of a classification of Rioja based on the origin of the grapes now means that wineries such as Muriel are free to define their wines by subzone (Rioja Alavesa, Alta and Oriental), pueblo (village wines) or even a specific vineyard (Viñedos Singulares). This means that consumers can now choose a Rioja wine based either on the ageing or the origin of the wine – which Murúa believes is a positive step forward for the region.

“Viña Muriel has released three new wines to help fans discover greater diversity in the Rioja region” says Murúa.

The new wines join Muriel Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, and top-of-the-range Viña Muriel Reserva and Gran Reserva expressions. The first is Viña Muriel Solariego, which is a single vineyard wine from El Gallo, the highest part of Elciego, where there are limestone soils, which due to their characteristic coolness, transmit their essence to the wine.

The second launch is Viña Muriel Blanco, a wine from Elciego in which the smooth elegance of Viura blends with the structure and intense aromas of Tempranillo Blanco.

Lastly, there is Viña Muriel Poncoles which has special characteristics that showcase the vineyard’s altitude and composition of the clay-limestone soil for a fresh, fruity, floral, structured wine with great complexity.

Speaking on this topic, Murúa observes that “the new launches show wine lovers the characteristics of the region”, adding that it is also a chance for wine fans to rediscover more about Rioja, learn about what is available and find out more about the complexity of the wines within it.

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