Located in the lovely medieval town of Elciego in the Rioja Alavesa region, Bodegas Murua sits atop a hill of clay and limestone surrounded by 110 hectares of vines with an average age of 45 years. At the highest point the vines are 450 metres above sea level and are subject to the influences of both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, both of which moderate the fierce heat of a Spanish summer, and the Cantabrian mountains which offer shelter from cold northerlies in winter. 75% of the vines planted are the great Rioja grape tempranillo with a supporting cast of mazuelo, graciano, viura, malvasia and the rarer garnacha blanca, the latter three varieties for the production of fine white wines.
The owners are the Masaveu family, who originate from Barcelona and who possessed a wine heritage prior to purchasing Bodegas Murua in 1974, having owned vines in Catalonia since 1870. They have invested heavily to modernise the winery and the equipment so that the estate is well appointed and ready to make the most of the excellent fruit that it produces.
The grapes are hand picked from separate parcels and on arrival at the winery are sorted and de-stemmed before crushing. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in 18,000 litre oak vats before the wine is transferred to French, American and a little Caucasian oak for maturation. The length of time any wine will spend in wood depends on its quality designation, so a gran reserva will spend two years in oak while a crianza need only see a year or so of barrel time but usually gets 18 months. Once the oak has done its work the wine is bottled and rested for a few month prior to release.
So steeped are the Masaveu family in their vinous heritage that they have amassed a great library of works about wine including archives, manuscripts, books and periodicals which scholars are welcome to study at the cellars.