Friday, September 13, 2019


Valenciso is a small, 21 year old winery in Rioja Alta. It produces 150,000 bottles per year from 19 plots of mainly calcareous soil. It is now in its first year of organic production. Like with many vineyards in Rioja, some are bush vines, some are trellised vines. There does not seem a pronounced preference of one over the other.

Valenciso stands out, because everything about these wines is about finesse. The very smart and reflective owner Luis Valentin took me through the wines shown above, except the 10 year old wine was the 2007. The 2018 Rioja Blanco was the best white wine I tasted on this trip - and what a wine this is! 70% Viura, 30% Grenache Blanc and fermented in Russian oak, creates a delicate wine with excellent depth. The acidity is firm, but does not distract from the harmonious citrus flavours.

The Rosé is produced in the saignée method. Melon and strawberry flavours are built on a solid foundation of minerality. This is a really smart wine.

The flagship is the Rioja Reserva, based on Tempranillo. But in contrast to many producers, this is not about how long the wine has spent in barrel, but reflecting where the wine comes from. The primary fruit in the 2002 wine is almost gone.  Exotic spices now characterize the wine, and the acidity gives it a good structure. Maturing took place in light and medium toasted French oak. The 2012 shows great purity, with red and black cherry character. The focus here is on the fruit, and the finish is very long and balanced. 

The top wine is the 2007 '10 years postres'. This wine was aged 50/50 in Russian oak and concrete vats. The ageing is about adding to the texture of the wine, not to impart flavour. According to Luis, the concrete stabilizes the colour of the wine. The fruit here is absolutely delicious, backed by firm tannins.

Try to get your hands on some of these wines. They are a revelation. Rioja never tasted this good.      

No comments: