Rioja Blanco Barrel Fermented – 2020

Region: Spain - La Rioja


VALENCISO was born in 1998 when Luis Valentín and Carmen Enciso (Valen-Ciso, Val-en-THEECE-oh), Rioja natives with extensive experience in the region, joined their surnames to make a single wine in the winery of their dreams in La Rioja Alta.

Minority partners include former managers of Radoux, makers of the finest French oak barriques, and growers in the best areas of the Rioja Alta.

Valenciso’s objective is to produce a limited number of wines of the highest quality and authenticity. The flagship wine is released as Reserva. The very best Tempranillo grapes come from mature, low-yielding vineyards. Careful harvesting is timed to capture the intensity of the fruit, while avoiding over ripeness or excessive alcohol levels. Aromatic lift rather than physical weight – in the manner of French Burgundy and the greatest Riojas of the past – is the Valenciso ideal. Aging takes place in the finest cork-grade (flor) French oak barriques, one-third replaced each year. Time in oak depends upon vintage characteristics and is determined after exhaustive tasting. The Valenciso wines are balanced offering early accessibility, structure, fresh acidity and fruit intensity promising many years of bottle evolution.

Cement tanks are used for winemaking because they respect the vividness and contribute to the wine’s longevity. Aging in French oak barrels gives elegance and richness.

The Wine

Vineyard Profile

Very old estate vineyards in Ollauri, in the north of Rioja Alta.

  • Altitude:  1640-1970 feet/500-600 meters
  • Soils: Clay-calcareous
  • Vine Age: over 75 years
  • Sustainably farmed, currently using organic practices
Harvest Notes
  • Each variety hand harvested and vinified separately
  • Fermented in lightly toasted, used Caucasian oak barrels  using only indigenous yeasts, then aged for 6 months
  • Blended and bottle aged for a few months before release
Winemaker's Notes

A classic Rioja Blanco style with a modern interpretation. A surprisingly long, creamy white. The freshness of the viura variety with the powerful touch of the white grenache plus its fermentation in the barrel achieves an incredible aromatic freshness, harmony and unique balance. Aromas of lively fruit show finesse with subtle creaminess, spice notes and restrained oak presence. Long, persistent and refined.

Wine Summary

70% Viura, 30% White Grenache, alcohol: 13.5%; very old estate vineyards in the north of Rioja Alta between 1640–1970 feet; clay-calcareous soils; each variety harvested and vinified separately; fermented in used Caucasian oak barrels and aged for 6 months; aged in bottle for a few months before release.

Technical Information
  • 70% Viura, 30% White Grenache
  • Alcohol: 13.5%


94 Points

The clean and modern white 2020 Fermentado en Barrica is very clean, expressive and fresh, with spicy and smoky notes from the barrel and citrus freshness. It was produced with 70% Viura and 30% Garnacha Blanca and has 13.5% alcohol and a pH of 3.5 after maturing in barrel for seven months. It has purity, definition and character and finishes with a pleasant bitter twist. 2022 – 2030

Luis Valentín and Carmen Enciso are Valenciso, which is a combination of both of their last names. They have farmed their 31 hectares of vines organically since 2017, but their wines do not carry certification. They produce some 150,000 bottles that age in 1,500 barriques. They are one of the modern-classical or classical-modern Rioja producers.

© Wine Advocate, July, 2022

90 Points

Smoky oak adds a fine, toasty layer to the lemon curd, nectarine and melon notes. Round, broad and a little waxy, with moderate acidity and a flavorful palate with some phenolic bitterness from the fruit and oak at the end. Grenache blanc. Drink now., September, 2022

General Info

PROPRIETORS Luis Valentín and Carmen Enciso
WINEMAKER Luis Valentín and Carmen Enciso
FARMING (SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC) Organically farmed since 2006 – no herbicides, pesticides or insecticides