BODEGAS MURIEL: PRESERVING RIOJA’S WINE LEGACY
Bodegas Muriel has been in the village of Elciego in Spain’s Rioja Alavesa for almost 100 years. José Murúa founded the winery in Elciego in 1962. The winery name is a combination of the family name, Murúa, and the village where they are based—Murúa + Rioja + Elciego. Bodegas Muriel blends family tradition with regional expression.
The quaint, historic village of Elciego is renowned for being surrounded by some of the best “terrior” in Rioja and known for its role as the cradle of modern Rioja wine. Today, Julián Murúa and his son Javier run the winery with the mission to meld the long-held winemaking traditions of the region with new technologies and techniques to make wines that express the best qualities of the grapes coming from the fertile Riojan vineyards. All Bodegas Muriel wines are 100% Tempranillo—the signature grape of the region. Due to the special micro-climate of the region, there is a triple influence from the Mediterranean, Continental and Atlantic climates—which helps the vines produce very aromatic and elegant wines, whose main characteristic is the potential to age.
Chief Winemaker, José Maria Ryan Murúa—nicknamed “Chema” is a cousin of the Murúa family. Chema has overseen more than 900 hectares of vines since 2009 (250 hectares of Muriel Estate vineyards and 650 hectares of growers in the region). Chema attended the Universidad de La Rioja and earned a degree in Oenology, as well as a Masters in Chemistry. He started his winemaking career in 1999, working for one of the largest Spanish wine groups, CVNE. In 2007, he moved to the smaller, yet very prestigious Bodegas Breton—also in Rioja. After two years with Bodegas Breton—Chema left to help the family with Bodegas Muriel. Ten years later, Chema is still working with the same Tempranillo grapes that he knew growing up in Elciego and has been vinifying into fine Rioja wines his entire professional career.
“Historically at Muriel we’ve gained recognition because of the consistency and value of our wines,” says winemaker Chema Ryan Murúa. The winery has perfected the art of blending, using grapes with the necessary structure, acidity and balance to create wines capable of ageing for the crianza, reserva and gran reserva categories.
Rioja Alavesa Style
Bodegas Muriel strives for Tempranillo wines that speak to the Alavesa style–a soft, elegant style. To achieve the style, they blend wines from vineyards that present ripeness and structure with others that provide freshness and acidity. In Elciego, white calcareous soils produce mature and ripe wines; while dark alluvial soils present freshness, fruit and acidity. This is the magic of blending different terroirs with the same Tempranillo grape.
Muriel Wines has grown to be one of the most important wine groups in Spain. They have an excellent variety of regional wines and different Spanish appellations of origin, highly valued internationally.
Timeline of Muriel Expansion
2010: The Murua family purchases Vina Eguia; a winery established in Elciego in 1973. The Basque word “Eguia” means “truth.” The book-shaped label features an open hand–analogous to putting one’s hand on a bible and swearing to tell the truth. Viña Eguia wines stand for an easy, open style Tempranillo from Rioja.
2014: Conde de los Andes is acquired and is one of the most historical brands in the Rioja wine industry, known for its legendary cellars. In 2016, to celebrate the Conde cellars’ restoration, Chema creates a contemporary update to the Conde de los Andes wines, sourcing from 40+ year-old vines grown in small plots. This is a fresh, fruity and suggestively complex version of a wine produced from old Tempranillo vines, selected in small plots.
2015: Bodegas Muriel acquires Pazo Cilleiro in Spain’s Rías Baixas denomination–the home of world-famous white variety, Albariño. Pazo Cilleiro is an Albariño wine of high quality and competitiveness. It brings together the values of the great wines of Spain’s Rías Baixas area: bold freshness full of fruit, elegance and tradition in a vibrant heart.
Muriel offers wines that speak of their land. Discover a full range of Muriel’s Spanish wines offering unique styles that suit every taste.