Region: Rioja Alta, Spain
Grapes: Viura (70%), Garnacha Blanca (30%)
First Glance: Textured, waxy, ripe yellow fruit, spices
Started by Luis Valentin and Carmen Enciso in 1998 after leaving the famous Bodegas Palacio, the duo is part of the newer wave of Riojan winemakers how seek to explore and promote the individual terroirs and old vine sites of the region. The focus is firmly on letting site and fruit speak, rather than adhering to the traditional preference for heavily oaked and process-driven wines, in a bid to make elegant and refined expressions placing finesse over power.
The Valenciso Blanco is a blend of very old vine Viura and Garnacha Blanca, from the cooler plots in the Rioja Alta sub-region. The fruit is hand harvested and fermented with indigenous yeasts, and whilst much high-end white Rioja is heavily influenced by oak and oxidative winemaking, the Valenciso blanco is aged with lees for 9 months in untoasted, fine-grained Caucasian oak, which imparts significantly less flavour than its French or American counter-parts, simply allowing the fruit to mature and blossom during the ageing.
95 points, Tim Atkin, 2022 Rioja Report
Following the established Valenciso assemblage of Viura and 30% Garnacha Blanca, fermented in oak with malolactic, this is the latest in a series of superb white wines from this family-owned bodega. Waxy, textured and leesy, with subtle aniseed and vanilla spices, zesty underlying acidity and a focused, tapering finish."