In 2011, Valenciso’s Rioja Reserva once again rose to the top, receiving 92 and 95 points, respectively, from Wine Advocate and Master of Wine Tim Atkin’s 2018 Special Rioja Report, solidifying Valenciso’s position among the highest echelon of Rioja producers. A hot, dry year in which superb selection and a reduced crop yielded a bolder and more concentrated Rioja Reserva than usual makes the 2011 Valenciso Rioja Reserva a clear standout as well as a candidate for both early drinking and extended cellaring. Valenciso’s supreme balance, elegance and refinement remain front and center in the 2011 Rioja Reserva. Produced from 100% organically farmed Tempranillo from the bodega’s holdings in Rioja Alta, the 2011 Valenciso Rioja offers an amplifying aroma redolent with floral, fruit, and spice tones. Tightly constructed around a core of polished tannins, the wine explodes in the mouth, filling the palate with persistent red and black berry flavors that wrap around a cache of cinnamon, sandalwood, and vanilla from 18 months in French barriques. We suggest serving the superb 2011 Valenciso Rioja Reserva at cool room temperature (60º F) after an hour or more of aeration. However, there’s no need to be in a hurry: the 2011 Rioja Reserva will evolve in a glass or decanter for several hours. And as we’ve learned from nearly a dozen previous vintages of Valenciso’s Reserva, if un-opened and stored properly, the 2011 Valenciso Rioja Reserva will continue to mature in bottle and drink beautifully a decade or more from now. Enjoy!
The plush and sophisticated 2011 Valenciso Rioja Reserva deserves the finest accompaniments one can bring to table. As a bold-flavored, complex Rioja, the 2011 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 make memorable pairings with Valenciso’s compelling Rioja Reserva. A creamy polenta and grilled wild mushroom dish with thyme and Parmesan cheese provides a delicious vegetarian accompaniment to Valenciso’s 2011 Rioja Reserva. Salud!
The Compania Bodeguera de Valenciso has catapulted to the forefront of Rioja producers through the assiduous work and 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 a 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 their corks are classified as “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.
For more than a decade Valenciso produced only one wine, Rioja Reserva. In recent years, Luis Valentin has also fashioned minute quantities of exceptional white Rioja and a Rosado as well as Laderas de Cabama, a delicious Rioja meant to be drunk in the first ten years of life. Valenciso’s Reserva, however, remains the bodega’s flagship wine. It is not released until it attains a minimum of four years of age and is able to comport itself perfectly in the glass, typically beginning around seven years of age.
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