The Compania Bodeguera de Valenciso was born when Luis Valentin and Carmen Enciso left their respective positions at one of Rioja’s oldest and most prestigious bodegas. Together they shared a vision of creating their own cellar, replete with only the finest and most seductive of Rioja wines. Their dream has come to life in the outstanding offerings that now flow harmoniously and joyfully from their bodega to our glasses.
The secret to the nearly instantaneous success of Valenciso is the criteria Luis and Carmen apply to their wines. All of Valenciso’s wines are made in small lots or cuvees. Each relies upon the greatness of old vine Tempranillo, the grape varietal that steals the heart and defines the soul of Rioja. Yields in the vineyard are kept draconically small in order to fashion wines of finesse, flavor, and symphonic harmony. In addition, only small barriques are used for aging, a third of which are renewed annually. French oak predominates and all of it is of cork “flor” quality, the highest level possible. Yet, without expert winemaking, all of these measures would be of marginal value at best. With the glorious 2001 vintage in Rioja and all other bases covered, Luis and Carmen have come to realize their dream. Taste and see.
La Rioja: A Special Wine
Like most of the great viticultural regions of Europe, the face of modern Rioja was cast during the 19th century. With the hope of escaping the dreaded phylloxera, the deadly vine louse in Bordeaux, many successful Bordeaux growers began moving south across the Pyrenees to La Rioja in the 1870's. With them flowed the capital and the expertise to enrich and improve the already splendid wines of La Rioja. They instituted extended barrel ageing, which remains the signature of fine Rioja wines. Even today, modern Rioja spends more time in small oak barrels than almost any other contemporary wine. And, like Bordeaux, the wine of La Rioja is a blend of up to four premium grapes: Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano, and Grenache. Tempranillo is, however, the primary player. Nonetheless, this unique blend of grapes, coupled with a long lavish hiatus in small oak barrels called barriques, produces a warm, very dry, but richly fruity wine of great finesse and perfume that in great vintages such as 2001 can be nearly immortal.