Valenciso is a favourite producer from Rioja Alta. In Rioja, most Tempranillo is doused in American oak. The thoughtful couple from Valenciso wants the fruit to shine, and when oak is used, it is French. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a rare tasting of a number of their wines.
White wines from Rioja are underestimated. The 2020 Valenciso Blanco is a blend of 70% Viura and 30% Grenache Blanc. After a wild ferment, the wine is aged in untoasted Russian oak barrels for nine months. It is very fresh, but has depth in its balanced mouthfeel. There are subtle spices on the palate, and the zesty acidity leads to a focused finish. This is quite a serious and flavoured wine (93 points).
The first red is a new wine, the 2018 Valenciso Cemento. The fruit comes from 55 year old vines, grown at 550m altitude. As the name suggests, and the picture below shows, this wine is fermented and matured for 30 months in concrete tanks. It sees no oak. The wine is very fresh, with great purity, and red plum and blueberry flavours. It is a wine of medium intensity, with fine tannins and a medium finish (92 points).