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2009 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja

SKU #1265363

A K&L Direct Import! This is our latest arrival from Miguel Merino, whom we like to call "the hardest working man in Rioja." Having begun his humble "retirement project" in the early 1990s by restoring an older bodega just down the hill from the historic town of Briones, Miguel either owns or rents to own a total of around 8 hectares of vines, all of which are located in Briones; not only is this village specific Rioja, but it happens to come from one of the most sought after villages in all of Rioja Alta, where many top bodegas have some of their most prized, older vineyards. For Vitola, Miguel uses fruit from vines (primarily Tempranillo with a bit of Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo) averaging 40 years of age. He is going for a modern classic style of wine, structured but both ageworthy and drinkable upon release. This 2009 really brings the fruit! Given that we are in Briones, Rioja, however, the wine also has intensity, chalky minerality and the authority of Rioja Alta fruit from mature vines. Some quick vine growing/winemaking notes: Organic (non-certified) vineyards, native yeast fermented, regular barrel topping, no fining and a very gentle filtration employed. Do not be shy about popping this open now, though it will certainly continue to improve and hold well for at least another 5 years. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)

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Price: $19.99
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Staff Image By: Joe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/23/2017 | Send Email
One of the best Rioja offerings in store for under $20. Initial aromas of candied fruit, cherries, and berries. On the palate, the wine’s power becomes evident. The 2009 vintage was marked for its ripeness and this is thusly exhibited through blackberry and sweet plum notes. Tertiary characteristics of pipe tobacco and licorice are present and noted. Even with the ripe fruit present, the freshness is still there even after 8 years of aging. A drying finish is accented by silky tannins. I recommend decanting this wine 30 minutes before serving; would be a great accompaniment with grilled red meat!

Staff Image By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/4/2017 | Send Email
Generosity of spirit is usually a characteristic applied to forgiving mortals, but wine, a well-crafted, exemplary bottle of red or white, can, once uncorked and poured, instill in the receiver a soulful sense of well-being. The polished wines of Miguel Merino are nothing if not generous in fruit, concentration, finesse and finish, blending savory with structure, elegance with power, and poise with passion. In searching the name Vitola, I discovered it is also the word for a size of cigar, which might denote the subtle tobacco notes in the wine that complement the sumptuous layers of dark berry fruit, shaved chocolate, coffee and spice. In the benevolent spirit of great food and wine, please celebrate!

Staff Image By: Ivan Diaz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/15/2017 | Send Email
When I first tasted this last year I was impressed by the tight-rope Mr. Merino was walking, managing to craft a Rioja that was equal parts modern (fruit-forward, oaky) and traditional (earthy, savory). Now with a little time in the bottle (and eight years out from the vintage), this wine drinks with the rustic profundity of great, traditional Rioja. While it maintains a core of vibrant red fruit and sweet oaky spices, there are added layers of complexity that send this one soaring above countless bottles of Rioja at the same price. A marked herbal sensation strikes me most, with minty eucalyptus but also more savory sage, accompanied by warm clove and anise spices. There are also subtle notes of tomato skin, tobacco leaf, and sweet balsamic, elevating this unassuming bottle to reach unexpected heights of flavor.

Staff Image By: Jason Marwedel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/14/2016 | Send Email
I had the great pleasure of visiting Spain this last summer, and one of the highlights was meeting “The Man…The Myth…The Merino.” Miguel’s winery is located in the timeless hilltop village of Briones, in La Rioja Alta. The most gracious of hosts, I am a huge admirer of the man and his wines alike. I have tasted the 2009 Vitola three times this year, and can say it has come into its own as of late. This wine displays the hallmark ripeness of the 2009 vintage, with the poise and polish Miguel does so well. On the nose it is highly aromatic, showing the classic interplay of fruit and savor I love so much. The wine has weight, but is anchored well by silky tannins and fresh acidity. Enjoy now, but don’t be afraid to lose a few in the cellar for the future. You won’t be sorry!

Staff Image By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/10/2016 | Send Email
I can't think of a bottle of red wine under $20 that can compete with the Vitola from Miguel Merino. It has plenty of rich, dark fruit, is framed very nicely with a touch of vanilla oak, and finishes with great lift. This wine has great body and texture, and will be great with any number of meaty dishes, or just to drink after work. If you haven't had a Spanish wine in a while, try it! If you know you like Rioja, don't hesitate and take a case before it is gone!
Drink from 2016 to 2026

Staff Image By: Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/10/2016 | Send Email
The fruit used to produce this Reserva Rioja came from vines planted in the 1970s, and the concentration and depth are evident. I get notes of cocoa, vanilla and espresso underneath loads of concentrated dark fruit like blueberries, mulberries and blackberries. There’s solid tannin, but it’s well rounded by the extra year in bottle and lends to the great structure typical of a Miguel Merino wine. Age and structure like this at a price so low should get our bargain-hunters pretty excited!

Staff Image By: Heather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/9/2016 | Send Email
Miguel Merino's Vitola has always been a hit here at K&L, but I think this is the best vintage we've had yet! Gorgeous black berry aromas and savory, earthy notes combine with good, clean, round fruit to present a unified, yet complex whole. Whether you've been a fan of past vintages of Vitola, or are just getting into Riojas, this is a wine I wouldn't miss!

Staff Image By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/9/2016 | Send Email
This is the perfect transition wine for those fond of American wines who are looking to try something new or are simply tired of paying a premium for wines with a Napa Valley designation. It's full bodied, rich and dark fruited. The wine has been aged for at least three years with at least one in barrel. A top quality, progressive style of Rioja.

Staff Image By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/9/2016 | Send Email
This is a great, young Vitola! 2009 was a fantastic vintage in Rioja Alta, and it shows with this wine's rich fruits, full volume in the mouth, and elegant balance of density and freshness. For fans of Napa reds, there is a lot to like here and this would make for a great intro to Rioja. That said, Given the quality of Miguel's vineyards and winemaking, Rioja fans should also jump on this wine. Hint: it will age very well....

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- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.


- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.


Alcohol Content (%): 14