A wine and images from Elciego


The hotel of Marqués de Riscal provides modern counterpoint to the sixteenth century Church of San Andrés in Elciego

Today’s review wine hails from Elciego in the Rioja Alavesa, and, judging by the address, basks in the reflections of Frank Gehry’s temple to wine. I spent a morning at a local festival of wine in Elciego back in September 2015 and tasting this wine certainly took me back there. The atmosphere was phenomenal, the food sublime and, the wine was free flowing if you could fight your way to the stalls. I may well have tried something from Valdelana back then but the festival atmosphere was no place for writing notes. Great wine captures snapshots in history, people, and places: I could not help but share a few images of my time in Elciego to set the scene.


Stalls at the festival had a wide range of local produce and pintxos


The main square in Elciego on the day of the festival

Valdelana, Rioja Crianza, 2011

Tempranillo 95%, Mazuelo 5%

This Rioja Crianza was picked up from Vinissimus for a good price about a year ago.  Being a Crianza this spends 12 months ageing in barrel using a combination of 50:50 french and american oak.  Following this it spends another 12 months ageing in bottle.


The glorious church of San Andrés in Elciego

Tasting note:

Rustic, a little rough round the edges, but you know what? This really reminds me of a summer evening in the Rioja Alavesa. If this was on the side with sauteed mushrooms, cured meats and olives I would be feeling right at home. High acidity, moderate tannin. The fruit is slightly off ripe but with a deep richness. It reminds me of the cacao in the darkest chocolate but it would be improved if softened. I was not expecting it but this surprisingly softened and opened on day two. No score documented at the time of tasting.



One thought on “A wine and images from Elciego

  1. I loved this post! I was in El Ciego a couple of years ago to get some Gran Reserva Marques de Riscal for my mother who was born and raised in Spain. What a town, what a winery! Great pictures – reminds me how much I hate the Geary sculpture at the winery hotel (though I don’t get him, admittedly: I also hate his Guggenheim work in Bilbao). Check out this article we just posted about a Spanish winemaker in our neck of the woods – Sonoma County. http://www.topochinesvino.com.


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