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Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 3.41.16 PMFor wine industries that are smaller and unknown like Spain, among many others, getting awards and accolades are super important in the sale and success of their wine. I know that there are quite a few wine competitions but it is kind of sad to think that someone could make terrific wine and must depend upon a board of 20 people who are going to taste hundreds and hundreds of wine in one sitting.

For the 2008 Muriel Rioja Reserva, when you do a quick google search you find that it is all about how it received a 95+ point rating from Decanter magazine and even made their list for the top 50 wines of 2013. Wine marketing is 90 percent of the wine business and this is great news for this wine unless it is terrible.

As you may know, I reviewed there 2004 Gran Reserva here so I thought I would give it’s younger less aged in barrel brother a try. The tasting notes come from both Decanter and the winery itself. I wanted to do this because they are so vastly different:


Menthol and eucalyptus on the nose. More classic aromas come through with aeration. Savoury, traditional style with toasted nuts and coffee, delicate coconut and ripe, baked plum fruit. A great, classic Rioja. Complex and intriguing.


The 2008 Muriel Reserve is a ruby red color. It has good intensity and balanced vanilla notes from oak maturation. The palate boasts mature red fruits along with hints of liquorice and spice. The palate is round, velvety and elegant, with a very long, satisfying finish.

Interesting the differences. Keep in mind one of them sells wine and the other magazines with reviews. So which one do I agree with more?

Color – Deep dark red.

Nose – Black pepper, spice, vanilla, and dried cherries.

Taste – Black cherries, with almost a nutmeg spice and some cranberries.

Finish – Long with medium acid and big bold tannins.

Overall, this is by far the best Rioja that I have ever had and it seems like I agree more with the winery. It was balanced but bold. It was smooth but flavorful. It was complex but not overwhelming. You can get this wine still pretty cheap and I promise you will not regret it. This was a velvet in a bottle. Must buy!

Rating: A