Valenciso continues to fashion one of the greatest of all Rioja wines, and we can say unequivocally that Valenciso’s 2010 Rioja Reserva is the finest in a string of great Rioja Reservas from this superbly run bodega, but don’t just take our word for it. Tim Atkins, Master of Wine, and Decanter magazine awarded the 2010 Valenciso Rioja Reserva 96 points. This comes on the heels of consecutive award-winning Reservas from Valenciso, including an outstanding 2009 Valenciso Rioja Reserva that earned Gold at the Sommelier Wine Awards, a very impressive 2008 Rioja Reserva which Decanter magazine named Wine of the Year, and the 2007 Rioja Reserva that garnered 93 points and high praise from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate and was awarded Gold and deemed the Finest Wine of Show out of 2,000 entries at the Sommelier Wine Awards.
The 2010 Valenciso Reserva is adorned with a deep purple robe, explosive aromatics, finely polished fruit, and captivating spice tones. And as we have found with each and every vintage from this superbly run estate, the 2010 Valenciso Reserva embodies much of the confidence, personality, and charm of winemaker Luis Valentin, one of the most engaging and meticulous winemakers we have ever encountered. Luis articulates his passion for wine and pursues excellence with an earnestness rarely seen today in any profession. Produced from 100% Tempranillo, Valenciso's 2010 Rioja Reserva offers savory scents of red and black fruits, ripe woodland berries, sandalwood, cinnamon, and deft touches of vanilla from oak barrel ageing. In the mouth, the wine unfolds slowly and persistently in true Rioja Alta fashion to reveal a wellspring of fruit, spice, and warm wood flavors. Moreover, layers of complex flavors continue to tantalize the palate and linger long after the wine slips down the throat. And once again in 2010, Valenciso’s Reserva strikes the ideal balance between fruit and structure, characteristics that have consistently earned Valenciso international acclaim. We suggest serving the extraordinary 2010 Valenciso Rioja Reserva at cool room temperature (60º-62º F) after an hour or more of aeration. However, there’s no need to be in a hurry; this Rioja Reserva will evolve in a glass or decanter for several hours. And as we’ve learned from our experience with previous vintages of Valenciso’s Reserva, if un-opened and stored properly, the 2010 Valenciso Rioja Reserva will continue to mature in bottle and drink beautifully a decade or more from now.
A wine as elegant and sophisticated as the 2010 Valenciso Rioja Reserva deserves the finest accompaniments one can bring to table. As a complex, elegant Rioja, the 2010 Valenciso Reserva pairs beautifully with traditional specialties from Rioja and the surrounding Ebro River region of Spain, yet there is no need to limit this aromatic, seductive Rioja to local favorites. An entrée of grilled lamb chops, served with wild mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, garlic, and herbs makes a splendid companion to Valenciso’s outstanding Rioja Reserva. A traditional stew, prepared a la riojana, with chicken or game birds, white beans, chorizo sausage, peppers, paprika, and tomatoes provides another wonderful accompaniment. Oxtail stew accompanied by a bottle of Valenciso Reserva remains a perennial favorite and brings back fond memories of incredible meals we enjoyed with Luis Valentin in Spain. Venison stew served in a thick brown sauce, grilled venison tenderloin, or a slowly braised pork shoulder served with tiny lentils also provide memorable pairings with Valenciso’s compelling 2010 Rioja Reserva. A bowl of tagliatelle pasta with wild boar ragu offers another mouthwatering accompaniment. If less means more to you, a plate of fine Spanish cheeses, a loaf of warm crusty bread, a few slices of perfectly cooked duck or rotisserie chicken, and some grilled vegetables are all the companionship any Valenciso Reserva needs to create a lasting memory. Salud!
The Compania Bodeguera de Valenciso is the artistry of Luis Valentin and Carmen Enciso. The name Valenciso, a combination of the proprietors’ two last names, came to fruition when Luis and Carmen left their respective positions at one of Rioja’s oldest and most prestigious bodegas. With a shared vision of creating a truly boutique Rioja in their own cellar, Luis and Carmen have created one of the finest and most seductive of all Rioja wines. Their dream comes to life each vintage in the outstanding Rioja Reserva that flows harmoniously from their bodega into our glasses.
The secret to the nearly instantaneous success of Valenciso is the criteria Luis and Carmen apply to making wines. Each relies upon the inherent greatness in old vine Tempranillo, the quintessential Spanish 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, all of Valenciso’s wines are made in very small lots or cuvees in the cleanest, most impeccably run winery we have ever visited. Moreover, 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 a string of successes that began with Valenciso’s inaugural vintage in 2000, Luis and Carmen have made their dream come true.
Only two wines are made at Valenciso: Rioja Reserva and a minute quantity of exceptional white Rioja. No Valenciso Rioja Reserva is released until it attains a minimum of four years of age and is able to comport itself in the glass.
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