24 great-value Riojas between £8-£20
Bodegas Muriel, Reserva 2008
Decanter average score: 18.75pts/20 (95+/100pts)
Individual judge’s scores: Pedro Ballesteros MW 19 Ben Henshaw 18.5 Annette Scarfe MW 18.5
Muriel (founded 1986) was created by Julian Murúa from his father José’s winery, which itself dates back to 1926. The bodega is in the village of ElCiego in Rioja Alavesa – Muriel is a blend of the two names. Today it’s Julian’s son, Javier, who runs the business. He’s charming, efficient and business-like – all qualities that have made him popular with the supermarkets and wine merchants with whom he does much of his business. He and his winemaker Chema Ryan (formerly of Viña Real) know that there’s profit to be made in pleasing customers. Murúa and Ryan also understand how to provide what customers want: consistent quality in both traditional and modern styles all at great value.
Pedro Ballesteros MW Lovely; so complex and intriguing, improving through to the finish. A great, classic Rioja.
Ben Henshaw Menthol and eucalyptus nose, then more classic aromas. Ripe and spicy with concentrated fruit. Deep, rich, fruit-driven and pretty serious.
Annette Scarfe MW Savoury style that is Integrated, long, tasty and structured.
Price £9.99 Majestic