And now for something completely different: Mazuelo (aka Carignan) from Rioja, Spain. Only 3% of Rioja's plantings are given to Mazuelo, so having this wine on the shelf is quite a treat. Straight from the bottle, it's all leather and earth, but with a bit of coaxing soft red fruit emerges along with spice, cream soda, red licorice and floral notes. With even more air, the fruit starts to turn towards the darker spectrum. The warmer 2012 vintage has smoothed out Carignan's rough edges. A fun, rustic wine that deserves a bit of love. -- Christopher, Marquis Wine Cellars, Jan 2017
Located in the village of Briones in Rioja Alta, Bodegas Miguel Merino offer exemplary modern Rioja wine sourced from their own Tempranillo vines planted between 1931 and 1963 at an altitude of 550 meters above sea level. The Tempranillo vines are augmented by small plots of Mazuelo and Graciano that are occasionally bottled separately. The wine is then matured in a combination of new American, French and Hungarian oak.