This Valserrano Rioja Crianza review is part of our value wine series of reviews. Learn about delicious, affordable and accessible wines from all over the world. The Varserrano Rioja Crianza 2011 is available at most major retailers, such as Total Wine. It offers wine enthusiasts an opportunity to taste the essence of a true Rioja Crianza. Learn a little bit about the Vintner, tasting notes and some of our recommended food pairings for this wine below.

Valserrano Rioja Crianza from La Rioja Alavesa, Spain.

Vintage: 2011

As we enter 2016, I’m putting the Valserrano Crianza down as my most recommended Spanish red blend. Why? For starters, it’s available at a fair price point. For around $15.99, you can taste a perfectly blended concoction of 90% luscious Tempranillo and 10% Mazuelo. This wine is fresh with ripe red berries, moderate acid, gritty tannins and red pepper spice. The balance of flavor allows for a wide variety of food pairing options.

Valserrano Rioja Crianza 2011 Review A Little Bit About the Winemaker…

Produced by Bodegas de la Marquesa, the Varserrano brand has really caught on to American consumers in recent years. The vintner grows a variety of traditional Rioja grape varieties over their 65 hectares of vineyard plots. 80% of the vines grown by Bodegas de la Marquesa are Tempranillo, as this grape variety offers wines the best chance for quality aging in oak casks. Smaller concentrations of Mazuelo, Garnacha, Graciano and Viura are also grown and blended within their Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva wines. Depending on the quality of vintage, Valserrano may also produce pure Tempranillo varietal wines for the best years.

For all of the Valserrano wines that Bodegas de la Marques produces, low-yield grape vines are predominantly utilized in conjunction with some more recent plantings. On average, the wine maker claims that their vines are at least 25 years old.

The Valserrano Crianza, like its Reserva and Gran Reserva brethren are all aged underground in cellars exceeding 200 years of age. Not far from the vineyards where the grapes are harvested. These ancient cellars offer consistent temperatures ideal for aging traditional Rioja grape varieties such as Tempranillo. Once the wines reach their best age within oak casks, they are transferred to the bottle and aged for additional lengths of time depending on the style of wine being produced. Giving a Rioja wine a “Crianza” designation requires a certain style of aging, determined by a regulatory body within La Rioja.

Valserrano Rioja Crianza Review, Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Soil ripe with clay and limestone in Rioja Alavesa give wines like the Valserrano Crianza great depth and mineralistic flavors.

The Valserrano Rioja Crianza is aged for approximately 12 months in French and American oak barrels. It is then transferred to the bottle and aged for at least another 6 months before making it to store shelves.

Related: Discover the Rioja Wine Region of Spain

Varserrano Rioja Crianza Tasting Notes

In the glass, this wine emits a beautiful rustic red garnet and black cherry hue. The nose is loaded with hints of wet forest floor, old leather chair, raspberry and pomegranate bits.

The opening palate is inviting and refreshing, offering great depth and tannic content. As the wine continues to wash back, we get notes of limestone minerals, soft vanilla, cassis and raspberry.

Red pepper spice becomes more noticeable on the mid-palate as slightly elevated acid and firm alcohol (14.5%) shows more of itself. Towards the close, black cracked pepper washes over the taste buds with pomegranate over a smooth and lengthy finish.

Valserrano Rioja Crianza Review | Valserrano Rioja Crianza 2011

Appropriately marinated grilled skirt steak makes for an ideal food pairing with the Valserrano Crianza.

Varserrano Rioja Crianza Food Pairing Ideas

Pairing food with Rioja wines is always a pleasure. They’re typically somewhat spicy, which makes them a flexible table wine. For this particular blend, consider sweet and savory or spicy meats to maximize flavor. Spanish-style lechon (roasted pork) is our favorite pairing, but you should also consider marinated grilled flank or skirt steak. Pair these meats alongside penne with red-wine and garlic tomato pasta sauce. Check our some more of our favorite recipes below!

Valserrano Rioja Crianza 2011 Review | Varserrano Food Pairing Lechon Asado

Cuban-style Lechon Asado makes for one of the best Rioja Crianza food pairings! Image courtesy Closet Cooking.

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