May has been a busy and joyful month, with the birth of my son Santiago and with some trips abroad. The best part of these trips has been returning home to my family with a new member. As the poet John Hegley puts it: “Father is fond / beyond the call of beauty”. Thus, it has been a month to celebrate the arrival of the baby and to toast with different wines. Of all of them, I would single out one, Valenciso Reserva 2001, an outstanding Rioja.

The Valenciso project was launched in 1998 by two Rioja insiders, Luis Valentín y Carmen Enciso, in Ollauri, Rioja Alta. They decided to create a high quality wine, 100% tempranillo, only one wine per year, always a reserva, and to develop only one brand, thinking long term and putting a competitive price (a bit less of 20 euros per bottle). A lot of attention was paid to selection of grapes from old vineyards and to the use of new French oak barrels.

When you drink Valenciso 2001 you realize the beauty of modernized Riojas, true to their terroir but emancipated from classicism, with strong personalities –a little bit like I imagine my sons in some years. The first time I tried Valenciso in Bilbao, with my friend Fernando Maura, I was reminded of a Bourdeaux, for its perfect combination of wooden and fruit flavours. I went back to it a week ago and everybody around the table remarked how the wine was opening up and evolving, offering new sensations, surprising us …like our children do, I thought. So I invite you to admit this new member in the family of your favorite wines.

http://www.valenciso.com