92 points Tim Atkin
Outer quote mark "No pretension", says Miguel Merino of this young vine cuvée, made with fruit from four vineyards in the El Rincón sub-zone of Briones. But this is a superb wine with real grace and elegance. The wood is barely apparent here, the fruit silky and supple and refined. Inner quote mark (2/2022)
As a relative newcomer to Rioja, Miguel Merino has risen to the top in a region where few upstarts manage to break through the impenetrable relationships between wineries and growers that have been forged over many generations. Merino selected Briones as the ideal spot to begin his winery, a town in the heart of Rioja Alta with the ideal steep vineyards, chalky soil, and Atlantic climate needed to grow Tempranillo. Since releasing his first vintage in 1994, Miguel has placed his name in the top tier of the Rioja wines. Master of Wine Tim Atkins, the foremost expert on Rioja, has called Miguel Merino a ‘Legendary Winemaker’.
The winery controls 11 vineyards (six owned and 5 rented long term) subdivided into 24 plots, which they harvest manually and farm sustainably, without the use of herbicides. In addition to Tempranillo they work with Mazuelo, Calagrano, Viura, Graciano and Malvasia, as well as a small plot of pre-phylloxera Garnacha. The winemaking is carried out with minimal intervention but careful stewardship in the cellar for the small production of just over 30,000 bottles a year.