Rioja Blanco Barrel Fermented – 2021

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, Haro and Villalba, in the north of Rioja Alta.

  • Altitude: 1663-1970 feet/507-600 meters
  • Soils: Clay-limestone
  • Vine age: over 75 years
  • Organically farmed
  • Climate: cool Atlantic influence
Harvest Notes
  • Dry winter with warm temperatures in February
  • Cold spring with little rain but rainy June
  • Significant storm June 14 with hail in Ollauri vineyards
  • Very dry July, only heatwave in August, rain and warm early September – overall a below-average temperature summer
  • Cool weather a few weeks before and through harvest
  • Each variety hand harvested 9/24 – 10/5/2021
  • Varieties vinified separately in lightly toasted Caucasian oak barrels using only indigenous yeasts
  • Blended and barrel fermented
  • Aged in same oak barrels seven and a half months
  • Bottle aged a few months before release
Winemaker's Notes

Pear and white stone fruit aromas, unctuous texture, very long. Measured presence of oak with very fine, elegant pastry notes. It evolves wonderfully in the bottle: its creaminess is maintained over time, it ages very well, keeping a remarkable balance between fruit and oak.

Wine Summary

70% Viura, 30% White Grenache, alcohol: 13.5%; very old estate vineyards in Ollauri, Haro Villalba in the north of Rioja Alta between 1663-1970 feet; clay-limestone soils; organically farmed; each variety hand harvested and vinified separately; fermented in used Caucasian oak barrels and aged for 7.5 months; aged in bottle for a few months before release.

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


95 Points

A June hailstorm reduced the crop of Valenciso Blanco in 2021, alas, but there are still 30,000 bottles to go around. Sourced from parcels in Haro and Ollauri, with fermentation and ageing in Caucasian oak, it’s a scented, refined cuvée of Viura and 30% Garnacha Blanca, with aniseed, lemongrass and patisserie flavours and zippy supporting acidity. 2023 – 2030

Tim Atkin, February, 2023

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