‘One of the great wines of Spain, not just Ribera del Duero’, so wrote Tim Atkin MW in his review of the 2019 vintage of this wine for Decanter, which he scored 97 points. For the 2020, he has gone one step further and scored it 98 points. This was more than enough to pique our interest at Atlas, and we wanted to taste for ourselves to see what all the fuss was about! It is fair to say Tim’s endorsement was spot on in this instance, the 2020 Mirum from Bodegas Valdaya is a hugely impressive young Ribera del Duero.
Bodegas Valdaya was founded in 2006, but really started receiving plaudits when the owners recruited two well-travelled winemakers in 2013, namely Marta Ramas and Miguel Fisac. They had studied in Bordeaux, working with the late Denis Dubourdieu, a renowned oenologist. They had also worked in Saint-Emilion, South Africa, New Zealand, and California’s Napa Valley, gaining valuable experience before returning to Spain. What has impressed me about the 2020 Mirum is its balance and precision, attributes that I seldom focus on with regard to Ribera del Duero – it would seem that their varied experience has led to a very refined style of Ribera. The Bodegas draws on 14 hectares of vineyard, with an average vine age of between 50 and 90 years. These vineyards are situated north of the Duero river, in the villages of Baños de Valdearados, Sotillo de la Ribera and Gumiel de Mercado at altitudes than span 850 to 920 metres. Interestingly, they have identified three distinctly different soils across their vineyards; limestone, clay, and sand, and they therefore make one wine from each terroir. The Mirum comes from a limestone-based vineyard, Valdaya itself from sand, and Valiente from clay. Marta and Miguel’s aims are for these three identities to be clearly reflected in the bottle – I am yet to taste anything beyond the Mirum, but starting at the top of their range, I have to say I am seriously impressed and am looking forward to exploring the range. The freshness and purity of the Mirum is much more in keeping with the styles of Ribera del Duero that I prefer. Sourcing the fruit from a cool, old-vine vineyard, a measured extraction, and the judicious use of oak result in a brilliant wine.