Spanish Wineries By Region

Twenty years ago Miguel Merino restored an old 19th Century house on the outskirts of the town of Briones and on the adjoining land built facilities for vinification, barrel and bottle ageing and planted a small experimental vineyard. Now, as one of the smallest and youngest wineries in Spain–their first vintage was 1994- their wines are among the most prestigious in the country, and are exported to over 30 markets. All the grapes at the Miguel Merino Winery come from very old vines planted in bush formation between 1931 and 1963 in Briones. The vineyards are located in slopes facing South and South-west with low-yielding clay and calcareous soils, at an altitude of 550 metres. Almost all of them are Tempranillo, one of the grape varieties that best reflects the particular conditions of each parcel. They also work with a small vineyard planted with Graciano, a very hard-to-grow grape variety which is a great companion to Tempranillo for its tannins and vivacity. The picking at Miguel Merino Winery is done by hand, using small boxes that will take the bunches to the vinification room without any damage to the fruit. Every single bunch of grapes is placed on the sorting table, where they are inspected for quality and any which are not in a perfect state of ripeness or health are rejected.Once the grapes are de-stalked, they are sent to the fermentation vats through a peristaltic system. The alcoholic fermentation will start naturally by the action of the yeasts from the grape skins and will take around three weeks at a temperature just above 30º C. The grape skins are left in contact with the wine for the whole of this period to maximize colour and aromas, with frequent remontages and bazuqueos (pushing the “cap” or solid parts down into the wine to increase flavour and colour. Afterwards the wine is racked into barrels and taken to the malolactic fermentation room, which is maintained at 19º C. so that the second fermentation will start spontaneously. Batonages, where the wine is gently moved, take place every day while the malolactic fermentation continues. Once this second fermentation is completed, the wine - already clarified - will be aged in American, French or Hungarian oak new barrels, made by Murúa, probably the best cooper in Spain according to Miguel Merino! The maturation in oak will last as long as each vintage needs, usually between eighteen and twenty-five months. The wine will then be bottled and left to rest and develop for at least two years in the 20,000 to 30,000 bottles that are filled every harvest. Miguel Merino Winery Miguel Merino Gran Reserva 2000. Dark and intense red colour, aromas of apricots, plums, spices, tobacco and cacao, on the palate it is balanced, elegant and long. Miguel Merino Winery Ctra. de Logroño 16, 26330 Briones La Rioja Tel: +34 941 322 263 Fax: +34 941 322 294 Email: Website: