2012 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja

SKU #1379583 91 points James Suckling

 Big blackberry, chocolate and caramel nose with some spicy oak. This is a pretty bold wine on the palate, but the tannins are not out of line and the overall impression is of expansiveness rather than heaviness. Relatively supple finish. Drink or hold.  (8/2018)

K&L Notes

A longtime participant in the wine business, Miguel sold wine for wine distributors in the States as well as worked as an export manager. Miguel found success every step of the way, and then decided that rather than retire, he wanted to fulfill his dream of owning vines and making wine. Based in the Rioja Alta town of Briones, Miguel Merino makes, as he likes to put it, an "updated classic" style of Rioja, all from his own two hectares of vines and several hectares of vineyards owned by a close friend. All the fruit is from sloped vineyards (Miguel is a fan of his slopes) within the cooler climate Rioja Alta town of Briones, which makes these wine a terrific showcase of the terroir (especially in a region where wines blended from various villages are more often the norm). Produced from vines planted in the 1960s, this is a perfect example of Miguel's "updated classic" description: garnet yet translucent color, deep, savory, meaty dark fruit and black cherry aromas and a very juicy palate of blackberry and black cherry fruit. Rich, and yet perfectly balanced. Drink now and for another decade plus.

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Price: $29.99
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By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/29/2018 | Send Email
At six years of age this is already starting to show touches of leather, ceder and steeped tea poking through the macerated plum and dried black cherry fruit. The mid-palate is soft and silky and the tannins on the long, gentle finish are barely noticeable. An amazing wine for under $30.00.

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/28/2018 | Send Email
A terrific vintage of the reserva bottling, this shows a deeper, more brooding quality, with more savory nuances than the entry level Vitola reserva. Flavors show dark cherry, with the savory meatiness following the nose, and a decidedly chalky minerality which is so typical of good Reserva level Rioja in general and Miguel's top quality, Briones sourced reservas in particular. A fine example of the quality you can find amongst the small grower, single village producers of Rioja.

By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/28/2018 | Send Email
This is the first time I’ve tasted wines from Miguel Merino and I now consider myself a fan. Miguels wines seem to balance the tight rope between the two dominant styles or Rioja; classic and modern. The wines are well made with fruit that is clean, sleek, and focused like a modern Rioja. On the palate the elegance lends itself toward the classic style. Pure black and red cherry drives the aromatics along with hints of vanilla and coconut. There’s a Pinot Noir like sensibility to the wine. It’s silky and smooth with a long lingering finish. The wine harkens you back for another whiff and another taste. This wine is exactly what I'd expect of a Reserva level bottling and will be easy to recommend. Bravo Mr. Merino.

By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/28/2018 | Send Email
Miguel Merino's wines have always had a touch more modern take on the classically styled Riojas. Plenty of the sweet baking spice, light dilly notes and hint of coconut abound but there is always beautiful full-bodied underlying fruit that adds a little more impressive mouthfeel and texture. The 2012 is spot-on. It has that mix of full fleshy ripe fruit and spice laden nuances that keep the glass coming up to my nose. Maybe leaning more towards the Muga side of expression with a Lopez sensibility. Most impressive indeed!

By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/28/2018 | Send Email
Holding out to release a wine until 6 years after its made can be tough (both financially and labor-wise) for any winery, let alone a man doing this as his retirement project. That patience has definitely paid off here for Miguel, whose Reserva bottling shows great concentration and depth of flavor. Deep, dark fruits marry seamlessly into the oak, and the power behind the Tempranillo has rounded out to become supple and velvety. Miguel Merino's wines are always an easy choice for me to recommend due to their consistent commitment to excellence and naturally fantastic flavors.

Additional Information:



- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.


- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.


Alcohol Content (%): 14