2009 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja SKU #1265363

$19.99

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Tasting Notes

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)

Staff Reviews

  • John Majeski
    By: John Majeski
    7/4/2017
    K&L Staff Member
    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!
  • Ivan Diaz
    By: Ivan Diaz
    6/15/2017
    K&L Staff Member
    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.
  • Jason Marwedel
    By: Jason Marwedel
    11/14/2016
    K&L Staff Member
    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!
  • Gary Westby
    By: Gary Westby
    11/10/2016
    K&L Staff Member
    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
  • Alex Schroeder
    By: Alex Schroeder
    11/10/2016
    K&L Staff Member
    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!
  • Heather Vander Wall
    By: Heather Vander Wall
    11/9/2016
    K&L Staff Member
    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!
  • Gary Norton
    By: Gary Norton
    11/9/2016
    K&L Staff Member
    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.
  • Joe Manekin
    By: Joe Manekin
    11/9/2016
    K&L Staff Member
    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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