Photo: Bodegas MurielPhoto: Bodegas Muriel
Wine lovers, foodies and chefs from around the world met in Chicago on Saturday, May 2nd for the Rioja Wine & Tapas Festival. Spain’s most prominent wine region hosted its biggest event of the year in Chicago first nationally celebrated festival featuring Rioja’s best winemakers and notable U.S. chefs in the stunning atmosphere of Chicago’s iconic Union Station on Canal street. This food and wine festival showcased nearly 200 vibrant wines from Rioja, ranging from Blancos to Rosados to Gran Reservas, all accompanied by live Spanish music. To pair with the wines, 30 notable American chefs created their best interpretations of Rioja-inspired tapas.
At the festival, I had the pleasure to speak to Jose Maria Ryan Muriel, a winemaker from one of the oldest and established Bodegas Muriel winery. Below, Muriel and I discussed his love for wine, history behind the winery, and he even let us in on his favorite food pairings.
Can you tell me the history behind this beautiful winery? It was founded in 1982, when my great grandfather, Julian Murua Entrena restored his father, Jose Murua’s winery from 1926. Our name “Muriel” derives from the combination of the family name, Murua, and the name of the town, Elciego.
What is the signature grape of the Rioja region? All Bodegas Muriel wines are 100% Tempranillo. It is often blended with varying amounts of garnacha, graciano and mazuelo (known in many places by its French name, carignan).
Does the climate have anything to with the produce of your wines? Yes, our region is heavily influenced by the special micro-climate of theMediterranean, Continental and Atlantic climates, which help the vines to fruitage our wines to have great potential to age.
What do you like to pair your wines with? My favorite for the summer is a nice glass of white wine paired with seafood, chicken and some light pasta.
What do you love most about being a winemaker? What I love most about is all of the people that you meet in the industry. It really is a small world of us that become family to each other and share the same drive and passion for wine.
Photo: Bodegas Muriel