Rioja Reserva – 2016

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

From Ollauri, Briones, Rodezno, Haro and Villalba estate vineyards in the north of Rioja Alta.

  • Altitude: 1633-2000 feet/507–610 meters
  • Soil: Clay-calcareous, chalky white
  • Vineyards benefit from cooling Altantic ocean influence
  • Sustainably farmed, currently using organic practices
Harvest Notes
  • Wet winter mitigated the dry spring and summer – no rain until mid-September
  • Hand harvested 10/3 – 17/2023
  • Fermented in concrete tanks
  • Spontaneous malolactic fermentation in March 2017
  • Aged 18 months in 100% French oak barrels
  • Wine transferred back to concrete tanks for 12 months to further age and naturally settle
Winemaker's Notes

The 2016 Reserva reflects the elegance and finesse that define Northern Rioja Tempranillo. Aromatic volume, full in the mouth but not heavy, lively with pleasant creamy touches from the stay in cement tank and French oak barrels. Very persistent, the finish grows in the glass, balancing fruit and wood with subtlety and freshness.

Wine Summary

100% Tempranillo; alcohol: 14.5%; Ollauri, Briones, Rodezno, Haro and Villalba estate vineyards in the north of Rioja Alta between 1663–2000 feet; clay-calcareous soil; hand harvested October 3 – 17; fermented in concrete vats using only indigenous yeasts; spontaneous fermentation March 2017; aged 18 months in 100% French oak; wine transferred to concrete for 12 months to further age and settle before bottling.

Technical Information
  • 100% Tempranillo
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • Total Acidity: 5.5 g/l
  • Extract: 29.1 g/l


91 Points

Quite a meaty nose, showing some dark earth, pencil lead and a hint of peppercorn to the blackberries and dark cherries. Juicy and quite fine-grained on the palate, with precise, sweet fruit and slight funk in the finish, which adds interest without being over the top. Tempranillo. Drink now., September, 2022

94 Points

The balanced, young and elegant 2016 Reserva mixes characteristics from classical and more modern Rioja reds, fruit and herbs, spicy oak and some complexity and a medium-bodied palate with very good freshness and fine tannins. It’s riper than you think at 14.5% alcohol and has a pH of 3.7. It fermented in concrete and matured in French barrels for 18 months. 100,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in autumn 2020. 2022 – 2028

© Wine Advocate, July, 2022

93 Points

The 2016 Reserva is 100% Tempranillo sourced from the Ollauri-Haro area in Rioja, having undergone an 18-month aging process in French oak barrels. Garnet in color, it reveals balsamic notes, complemented by blackberry and strawberry aromas against an oaky backdrop. Indulgent and ample, it features fine-grained tannins, offering a flavorful red wine experience and a lingering fruity finish. This is a well-calibrated expression of Rioja. 2024 – 2036

Vinous, February, 2024

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