A toast to the grape harvest with Muriel Crianza Magnum


Three winemaker friends meet to talk about the end of the vineyard cycle

What do three winemaker friends do when they get together to discuss things? Naturally, they chat, share information, anecdotes, technical data and have a good time with a glass of wine.

This time, a Muriel Crianza 2018 magnum is opened. In the regular 75 cl bottle, this wine stands out for its versatility and freshness, but these impressions are intensified in a magnum, but with something else added: great balance, enveloping roundness and a certain comforting quality. We are particularly fond of magnum. 

The 2022 cycle comes to an end

The three winemaker friends talk about the end of the vineyard cycle. It makes sense; September signals the beginning of the grape harvest in Rioja Alavesa, and this year even more so: the weather during the summer, with very high temperatures and unseasonably dry weather, has brought the harvest forward.

That day when they saw the first shoots sprout on the Tempranillo vines now seems very distant. But that was only five months ago. A lot has happened since the beginning of April. The sudden heat in May caused a small "explosion" in the vines: branches and leaves grew exponentially. To ensure an optimal growth of the bunches, the vineyard teams had to work hard to remove the excess vegetation with selective pruning.

June was crucial. It is a month of storms and flowering —two things that don't go too well together. When it rains heavily, or even fiercely in late spring, the setting of the tiny grapes can be in jeopardy. This year, however, we managed to overcome these "hurdles" without too many problems.

The summer of contradiction

Everyone agrees on one thing: there are two major factors that seem to contradict each other on this extreme summer. For one thing, the lack of fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, which are common in wetter years, has meant that grape bunches are really healthy. The flip side is the drop in grape production. Such was the intensity of the heat even at night that it seems as if many plants, especially the traditional bush vines, had decided to limit the size of their "families" with the sole aim of protecting the entire house. Actually, this behaviour makes perfect sense.

Our winemaker friends all agree that this is going to be a high quality but low yielding vintage. The health of the grapes is excellent. Some berries are a bit small because the heat has inhibited their growth. But the must stored in their skins is sure to bereally special and full of character.

By now, the three of them know when their wineries will start picking the grapes. So, with a cool mind before the usual hustle and bustle of the harvest, they have decided to enjoy this Muriel Crianza magnum. A wise choice to toast to a good vintage.