Dark ruby color. Aromas of cherry, currant, vanilla bean and hint of tar. Full-bodied, with flavors of cherries, cocoa powder and oak. A touch of sweetness on entry with a little bit of air with soft tannins that are starting to integrate well.
The latest step in the project is Vinsacro (formerly Valsacro) Dioro. The earlier Valsacros were made from a field selection of the older vineyards. Now, thanks to the new facility Amador has been able to build an upmarket version of Vinsacro (formerly Valsacro) with a four-stage selection process that includes an initial field selection of the fruit followed by a second table selection as the grapes come into the winery. After fermentation wine from selected tanks is transferred to new French oak barrels for 12-14 months of barrel age. Finally, the best barrels are set aside for Dioro and the remainder used to "upgrade" the normal Vinsacro.
Vinsacro Dioro is a blend of grapes from 100+ year old "vidau" vineyards where many varieties were planted together in the same plot.
Today the grapes are harvested and vinified separately. The final blend depends on the vintage but typically it's Tempranillo (50%), Garnacha (20%) and remaining 30% is a mix of mainly Graciano (10%) & Mazuelo (10%) with a little of Monastrell (5%) & Bobal (5%).
"The top of the range is the 2015 Vinsacro Dioro, a wine that is only produced in excellent vintages. It's a blend of 40% Vidau (the old field blend) plus 45% Tempranillo and 15% Mazuelo, from a slope in the south of the Monte Yerga called Cuesta la Reina, from a big, 120-hectare plot that has been with the Escudero family for generations. It fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel with a long maceration. It matured in new French (70%) and American oak barrels for 18 months. It's still very young and a little shy, with a reticent nose where the lactic and spicy aromas are intermixed with earthy and dark fruit aromas. The palate is full-bodied but perfectly balanced, compact, powerful and serious, with abundant tannins, extract and clout. This should develop nicely in bottle, given its stuffing and balance. An excellent, modern version of a classical Rioja. 20,000 bottles were filled in June 2017. - Luis Gutierrez"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #235, February 2018), 92 pts
"(sourced from a 100+ year old plot of mixed varieties; aged in new and used French oak barrels for 14 months) Deep, bright-rimmed ruby. Ripe black and blue fruits on the expansive, spice- and smoke-accented nose, along with suggestions of vanilla, candied flowers and cola. The oak qualities recede quickly on the palate, which displays sappy, deeply concentrated boysenberry, black raspberry and spicecake flavors that show a suave blend of richness and energy. Supple tannins build steadily on the penetrating finish, which leaves cherry-cola and baking spice notes behind. - Josh Raynolds"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (February 2019), 93 pts
"I loved the 2015 Vinsacro Dioro Rioja, and this beauty is 50% Tempranillo, 20% Grenache, 10% each of Mazuelo and Graciano, and the balance Mourvèdre and Bobal, all of which spent 12-14 months in French oak. It boasts a deep ruby/purple color as well as smoking good notes of black currants, dried herbs, licorice, and background oak. Medium to full-bodied, seamless, and layered on the palate, with terrific fruit and impeccable balance, I suspect it will shine for over a decade."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 2019), 93 pts
Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Gran Reserva is 100 percent Tempranillo.
Founded in 1890, Bodegas Riojanas has been around longer than the D.O. which was established in 1925. For that reason, they're the only Rioja producer carrying "Rioja" in their name. They're known for their traditional style, aged Riojas. The Monte Real line sees 100% American Oak and will age beautifully for decades.
Blackberry, prune, raisin, leather and tar aromas are full but refined on the nose. On the palate, this is tight and finely focused. Flavors of blackberry, vanilla and coffee finish steady, with calm, complex notes of tobacco and marzipan rising to the fore of a steady finish. Drink this excellent gran reserva through 2030.
-Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
Number 85 in Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2019
Vinsacro Rioja Blanco is made from 60% Chardonnay, 40% Viura.
Aged 7 months in oak barrels of 225 liters
The grapes come from vineyards located in Grávalos, on the southern slopes side of Mount Yerga at the foothills of the “Cordillera Ibérica” at an altitude of between 700 and 800 meters. A very high located area where you obtain fresh wines with little graduation, with very fine and elegant aromas.
Bright straw yellow color, intense aromas and elegance with outstanding floral and fruity notes. After some time in glass balsamic and spicy aromas with toasty notes rise, due to aging in oak and bottle maturation. Very cool and structured with an unusual power for a white with a variety of flavors ranging from citrus to balsamic. A white wine that is full of surprises and capable of taking on many years in the cellar.
Vinsacro white has a long aging potential and presumably will have a positive development for 20 years.
The Chardonnay grape is harvested during the second or third week of October. The Viura grape in the first two weeks of October.
The collection of the grapes is done manually.
The selected must will go through the fermentation in American oak barrels of 225 liters with medium toast, remaining in the barrel with its lees for seven months before being removed with a daily battonage, daily at first and then more sparingly.
Pairs great with roast lamb, grilled vegetables.
Amaren Rioja Crianza is made from 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha
The wine is truly attractive, transmitting the finesse and elegance of the Tempranillo and the fresh, delicate fruitiness of the Garnacha. A balanced combination which is far from an excessive complexity, corpulence or over extraction to achieve the goal set by the bodega: to make a “RICH” wine in capital letters. With a nose in which the fruit character with floral nuances and strawberry toffees will stay with you all through its passage through the mouth, where you can sense its power, but with an elegance, enchanting you with its great balance until the long finish with heady notes of red fruit typical of the best garnachas from the Rioja Alavesa.
Only the perfect grapes are used to produce this wine. Amaren Crianza is the pursuit of perfection in all areas: the vineyard, the selection process, winemaking method and ageing.
Made from 85% tempranillo and 15% garnacha from vines with an average age of 35 years, the grapes are selected on a dual sorting table, first a manual check of the clusters and then individual berries.
Both varieties are harvested, vinified and aged separately to extract their optimum potential and obtain aromatic complexity.
After vinification the wine is cask aged for 12 months in 50% new, American-oak barrels and 50% in French-oak barrels used for a second vintage.
Tempranillo brings to the wine typical finesse, elegance and true expression of the characteristics of the best soils of Rioja Alavesa. Garnacha is the ideal complement that brings notes of red fruits, freshness and delicacy.
"Deep ruby. Oak-spiced cherry and blackberry aromas and flavors are complemented by a suggestion of mocha that gains strength as the wine opens up. Plush and seamless in style and showing no rough edges. Rich yet lively; a peppery note adds a spicy kick on the back half. Gentle tannins shape the impressively persistent finish, which leaves a hint of bitter chocolate behind. - Josh Raynolds"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (May 2017), 91 pts
Burgo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva is made from 100 percent Tempranillo. 30 year old vines.
Burgo Viejo Gran Reserva shows a deep red ruby color and offers powerful aromas of blackberry jam, spice, leather, chocolate with toasty nuances. Smooth yet full-bodied with firm tannins and a long finish.
"Shimmering garnet. Aromas of cherry, blueberry, candied flowers, tobacco and coconut pick up a smoky overtone with air. Smooth and fleshy on the palate, offering ripe red and blue fruit, mocha, cola and spicecake qualities that tighten up on the back half. Finishes long and supple with repeating spiciness, even tannins and a lingering suggestion of red berry preserves. This old-school Rioja was aged for two years in 90% American and 10% French oak. - Josh Raynolds"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (April 2021), 92 pts
2010 Burgo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva - Silver Medal - MUNDUS VINI
This wine is our tribute to the flagship grape variety of Rioja Baja. Garnacha has been grown in Alfaro for many
centuries in perfect balance with the local soils and climate which result in our intensely fruity wines,
full-bodied and with velvety soft tannins. Deep and brilliant cherry color; red wild berries, violet and subtle
spice on the nose; the taste sensation is rich, long, and very smooth.
Excellent when combined with red meat, pasta dishes and even chocolate desserts.
"Ripe wild raspberry and cassis fruits that are really brambly and expressive. The palate is all raspberry with smooth tannins and gently tangy appeal. Drink now."
- James Suckling (November 2017), 90 pts
GOLD MEDAL - Vinalies International Competition 2017
The first Valscaro Rioja hit the streets in 1997 and was major success at home and abroad. Since then the project has moved along to include a new 70 hectare plot at Pradejón, with a new large modern winery now operational, but still under construction and new plantings destined for Valsacro in 10-15 years. The site was carefully selected for planting low production Tempranillo clones on very poor rocky soil, which in time would self-regulate to the very low yields needed for the high end Valsacro line. The new winery includes a special grape selection setup along with the latest in modern winemaking technology and some interesting innovations like an overhead crane system to transport must in large vats to avoid damage from pumps. The approach also brings in a new "dump over" [rather than pump over] technique which has been a major success.
"Fresh and vibrant, this red delivers juicy black cherry and crisp cranberry flavors, with leaf and espresso notes. Shows good depth, with balance and intensity. Drink now through 2015. 1,750 cases made. –TM"
-Wine Spectator (August 31st 2010) - 90 pts
"Valsacro’s 2005 Crianza is a blend of 50% Tempranillo, 40% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo aged in French and American oak. Purple-colored, it has an enticing bouquet of cedar, tobacco, mineral, spice box, black cherry, and blackberry. This leads to a medium-bodied, elegant wine with some structure, savory fruit, a smooth texture, and excellent depth. It will evolve for another 1-2 years but can be enjoyed now through 2020."
- Wine Advocate (April 2010), 90 pts
"This wine is a blend of 50% Tempranillo, 40% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo aged in French and American oak. Tasted over two nights the youthful nose revealed concentrated blueberries, soft spices, and undertones of vanilla. In the mouth the blue and black fruit is a touch lighter than on the nose. There is a smooth texture to this approachable and modern wine. There is a dark core which is a touch spicy with salivating acidity on the sides of the tongue and dark fruit in the finish. Now-2019."
- Hogshead wine blog (July 17th 2012),**(*)
- Wine Enthusiast (August 2010), 89 pts
The Valsacro Estate
The Escudero family has been making wine and growing grapes for generations in the rugged, semi-desert foothills around Grávalos in the southwestern corner of the Rioja Baja region. Over the last 15 years or so, the Escudero brothers led by Bordeaux-trained winemaker Amador have transformed the small family "bodega" into a major Rioja wine producer. The changes have come gradually and in addition to the new winery at Pradejón (near Calahorra) they have greatly extended vineyard acreage, a very successful "cava" sparkling wine venture (one of the few non-Catalonian cava makers), and extensive Chardonnay plantings (disallowed in Rioja, but OK for cava). Amador, now in his mid-forties, is not one to shy away from taking risks to make things happen. The Valsacro project is an excellent case in point.
"One of the most adventuresome of "new Rioja" producers; amazing Dioro selection has explosive fruit; new project in Navarra called Logos bears watching."
- Anthony Dias Blue's pocket guide to wine 2006
The Valsacro Vineyards
Operating from the small Grávalos facility, Amador realized that some of his vineyards offered the potential to do something better (and different). These old vineyards, some over 100 years planted in the old fashioned "vidau" style offered the kind of raw material needed to make a modern-style premium wine - a Rioja with a difference. ["Vidau" is a mixed variety vineyard - a field blend ready to pick.] The vineyards include Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano & Garnacha. A typical Valsacro is about 40% "vidau" (majority is Garnacha with Tempranillo & Garnacha), 50% Tempranillo from 28 year old vines and 10% Mazuela (Carignan) from 25 year old vines.
Tasting Note: This very aromatic Syrah has hints of black pepper, dark berries and herbs and a bloody, earthy character on the nose. The palate is full-bodied with velvety but structured tannins and a balanced natural acidity. The finish is fresh, long and supple. Best served at 16 to 18 °C, this wine will greatly benefit from decanting when drunk within the first 3 to 5 years after bottling.
Andrea Mullineux told me that their debut 2012 Mullineux Iron Syrah has been the hardest cru to fine-tune over the years. Indeed, it has been trialed since 2005 but never bottled...until now. "We have been working hard to perfect the acidity here and it's been important to get life into the soil, getting the vineyard healthy, so that it can be picked with good acidity. Because it is dry farmed, in a space of three days, it can god from 22 to 26 Brix – so picking decision is critical," she said. It has a subtle marine influence coming through on the nose with macerated black cherries, boysenberry jam and touches of iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite grainy tannins, very nicely poised with touches of fig and marmalade towards the slightly saline finish. This is a strong debut to form the trio of Syrah single "terroir" offerings.
"The 2013 Iron Syrah has a roundness and softness on the nose that almost belies its complexity - red berry fruit, red peppercorns, rooibos and undergrowth scents that are very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, wonderfully savory and quite gamey, and beautifully balanced with impressive volume and sustain on the finish that you would have difficult distinguishing from a top Côte-Rôtie. This is an excellent Syrah, my only reservation being that there is a touch of heat on the finish. - Neal Martin"
- The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com, November 2015), 93 pts
"Similar to the Schist Syrah in its weight and meatiness, the Iron Syrah offers a more elegant, immediate appeal. Dark red plum, smoked meat, and savory herbs are seamlessly integrated on a lush, juicy and firmly structured palate, finishing very very long."
- iwinereview.com (January 2016), 95 pts
Long Shadows Dance Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Allen Shoup and winemaker Gilles Nicault have experimented with Chardonnay since the beginning of their collaboration on the Long Shadows Vintners project. The wine was fermented using a proprietary process to achieve a wonderful balance of richness and minerality. Two of Washington’s oldest Chardonnay vineyards provide the grapes for this limited production wine. Wente clone Chardonnay from French Creek Vineyard, east of Prosser – including a selection of old vine Chard (40%) – and Boushey Vineyard, north of Grandview, were chosen for the vibrant, lively character that defines Chardonnay grown on both these sites.
A layered, aromatic wine that displays minerality and white blossom fragrances with flavors of white peach, apple and a hint of baking spice woven throughout a subtle, creamy texture.