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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
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.
Xavier Vignon Cotes du Rhone Rouge is made from 75% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah.
Attractive notes of red fruits (raspberries and cherries), peppery herbs, and garrigue all flow to a medium-bodied, elegant.
Pairs with grilled lamb ribs, braised beef, spicy pork chops.
The 2017 Côtes du Rhône Xavier is another elegant and beautifully drinkable wine from Xavier. Attractive notes of red fruits (raspberries and cherries), peppery herbs, and garrigue all flow to a medium-bodied, elegant, oh so drinkable Côtes du Rhône that’s going to put a smile on your face over the coming 3-4 years. -Jeb Dunnuck 89-91 Points
Ottella Lugana DOC Le Creete is made from 100% Turbiano (clonal type of Trebbiano di Lugana)
Chakana Estate Red Mendoza is made from 70% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc
Deep red color with violet hints. Dark fruits and exotic spices with tobacco and mocha hints. Elegant, well balanced, harmonious, long persistence with chocolate flavors.
Vineyard: Gualtallary in Valle de Uco.
2 days maceration on skins in temperature controlled steel vats; 12 days fermentation with selected yeasts allowed to rise to a maximum of 28°C.
A high-altitude blend from organic vineyards planted at 1,100m in the Altamira and Gualtallary regions of the Uco Valley. A wild-fermented Malbec-dominant blend with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, that's aged for 10 months: 70% in French oak and 30% in concrete. Savoury black fruit aromas with pretty violet top notes on the nose. Full-bodied, with firm tannins, but also good freshness. Savoury and spicy black fruit on the palate, but with some brighter cranberry notes too - a good food wine for hearty dishes. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. - Julie Sheppard"
- Decanter Magazine (October 2019), 90 pts
Alain Jaume Rasteau Les Valats is made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre planted on clay and stones based soil.
40 Hectoliters / Hectare
Deep red garnet color. Aromas of fresh red berries. On the palate, the richness of the fruit and tannins harmonizes with the roundness of the wine.
The finish is long, with spicy touches and minerals notes. Complete and authentic.
Grapes planted on clay and stones based soil.
"Notes of wet sandstone, crushed earth and olive lend elegant restraint to crisp black cherry and blackberry here. A blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah, this concentrated wine is marked by savory tones of dried mint and sage. Fine but firm tannins and a mineral freshness accent the finish. It's ready now but should improve through 2030. - ANNA LEE C. IIJIMA"
- Wine Enthusiast (March 2019), 91 pts
"Earth, black olive and plummy fruit combine on the nose of the 2016 Rasteau Les Valats. It's a bit rugged, but in a good way, with savory tannins framing the dark flavors and lingering on the finish. Dark and dusty, it calls out for grilled meat. - Joe Czerwinski"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #238, August 31st 2018), 90 pts
"The 2016 Rasteau Les Valats is another outstanding wine from this team, offering classic Rasteau earthy black fruits, gravelly minerality, and a touch of spice to go with a full-bodied, concentrated, powerful style on the palate. Based on 80% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre, it’s a powerful yet balanced 2016 that will keep for 7-8 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 2019), 90 pts
Ottella Lugana DOC Riserva Molceo is made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana - 25-30 years old.
The wine is produced in the area of San Benedetto di Lugana in estate vineyards that are most suitable due to the high content of white clay.
COLOR • Golden, clear, intense.
NOSE • It immediately opens with fruity notes that are enchanting, penetrating and complex. Characterized by hints of citrus fruits, flowers and fine mineral and elegant notes.
PALATE • Complex and intense blend of mineral flavors; captivating, long, lively, both in the persistence and in the strength of the flavors, mingling with unmissable citrus sensation. A delicate evolution, fine flesh, perfect longevity.
Since 2009 it has won every year the TRE BICCHIERI GAMBERO ROSSO award.
The harvest and selection of the grapes are done strictly by hand, in small 17 kg crates.
PLANTING LAYOUT AND YIELD • Double bow Guyot, yield around 8,000 kg. of grapes per hectare, equivalent to 5,040 liters of wine or 63%.
HARVEST PERIOD • Harvest late in October.
FINING AND FERMENTATION • Delicate, soft pressing of the whole bunch for most of the production, the rest with gentle destemming by oscillation. Thereafter, a strict protocol of vinification: partial malolactic fermentation, fining for 16 months on the yeast and fine lees, which mostly takes place in stainless steel tanks (80%) and the rest in wooden tonneaux and barriques.
Stimulating with marine or freshwater fish, it also goes well with savory or fatty meat (goose or pork). Enjoyable with seasoned, herbal cheeses of various types and elaborate dishes.
"Intensely fragrant, this wine boasts aromas of citrus, perfumed white flower and yellow stone fruit. The elegantly structured, precise palate delivers juicy grapefruit, ripe apricot and energizing minerals while bright acidity lends balance. A bitter almond note graces the finish. Drink through 2024. - KERIN O’KEEFE"
- Wine Enthusiast (August 2019), 92 pts - EDITORS' CHOICE
Mordoree Lirac Rouge Reine des Bois equal parts Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre
Color : deep dark red, with blueish hints.
Aromas : highly fruity ( raspberry, billberry, blackberry ), floral (violet) and intense with a grilled touch ( coffee ).
Palate : melted and concentrated tannins, full bodied, very long fresh finish.
Ageing potential : 8 to 10 years
Grilled meats, sauce meats, game birds, game rabbits and semi-mature cheeses.
"A tank sample of the 2018 Lirac La Reine des Bois suggests yet another top vintage for this reliable cuvée. It's more "red fruits" than the 2017, but it's still fully ripe, with velvety tannins, ample weight and power on the palate and a bright, vibrant finish. - Joe Czerwinski"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #256, October 2019), 91-93 pts
Vinsacro (Valsacro)( Rioja is predominately 70yr old 55% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Mazuelo, 10% Graciano and 5% Monastrell aged in American oak.
Dark cherry color. Intense and elegant sweet spices, chocolate and ripe fruit with suggestive toasty aromas that tell us about the aging in good oak. Tasty, powerful, meaty and structured and at the same time easy to drink, very round.
The slogan of our winemaker "Wine is to enjoy". Vinsacro red wine is a wine to be stored, so that positive developments are expected for at least 15 years.
"(raised for 16 months in new and used American oak barrels) Deep, bright-rimmed ruby. Expressive, mineral-accented aromas of ripe dark berries, incense and smoky minerals, with vanilla and licorice undertones. Sweet, spicy and focused in the mouth, offering juicy blueberry and cherry liqueur flavors that are enlivened by a peppery spice accent. Smoothly combines richness and vivacity and finishes with impressive focus, lingering sweetness and supple tannins that build slowly and add gentle grip. - Josh Raynolds"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (February 2019), 92 pts
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.
Luis Canas Reserva Seleccion de la Familia Rioja is made from 85% Tempranillo and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Aged for 20 months in new oak barrels - 50% French 50% American.
45 years old vines
Total acidity: 5,73 g./l.
Volatile acidity: 0,73 g./l.
Free SO2: 28 mg./l.
Reducing sugars: 1,3 g./l.
The “family reserve” from one of Rioja Alavesa’s most enduring family-run wineries. Wines destined to be the Reserva de la Familia label are made from a selection of grapes from old vines, those which combine a series of characteristics such as good orientation and exposure to the sun, and a poor soil which ensures low yields.
This wine is one of very few Rioja wines to blend Cabernet Sauvignon with Tempranillo. Bodegas Luis Cañas was granted permission by the D.O.Ca. to plant this variety as an experiment in the early 1980s.
A brillant garnet color with cherry hints on the edges.
The nose offers a complex variety of aromas that combine to bring an intense and sophisticated wine. Initially we can find very ripe berry fruits, smoky notes, raisins and liquor. After a certain amount of aeration, the cinnamon and jam notes appear and, with a little more time, the roasted and spiced aromas are noticed more clearly.
The palate is full, with a good presence of tannins, although these are offset by the glycerine like character, resulting in a fleshy sensation. Long lasting and lingering finish.
Winemaking and aging:
The grapes were cold macerated for 72 hours upon arrival at the winery. They underwent fermentation at 26º C in sealed cement tanks under constant thermal control, with the must pumped over daily. With the paste devatted by gravity, spontaneous malolactic fermentation took place after 45 days.
The wine was aged for 20 months in 50% medium toasted American and 50% French oak barrels. The barrel ageing not only adds tannins from the wood, but stabilizes the wine naturally. After the final racking, it was clarified in tanks with a small amount of natural egg white, decanted after 30 days and bottled directly without any type of filtration. Because this wine’s evolutionary cycle is quite slow, only corks of the highest quality available were used to ensure that it could be prolonged for several years.
A ripe, flavorful Rioja with ripe berries and lots of old, toasted oak. Coffee character as well. Medium to full body, chewy tannins and a vanilla finish. A little overdone, but it’s still very attractive. Drink or hold."
- James Suckling (October 2020), 91 pts
Produced from 100% Tempranillo grapes, which are hand harvested from the Montebuena vineyard.
Brilliant deep ruby red color, fruity aromas .
Montebuena Red has a spicy vanilla bouquet and is smooth and fruity in the mouth with some well-integrated secondary nuances, full-flavored and a persistent pleasant finish. Pairs well with beef & lamb dishes, stews & cheeses.
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
Avennia Sestina Red Blend is made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc
The Sestina is a poetic form from Medieval France. Just as a contemporary poet can use an old form like the Sestina to express modern ideas, we use the traditional Bordeaux blend to make modern wines that express Washington fruit. Sestina is our vision for an old vine blend where the focus is on structure, balance, and complexity. This wine is designed for the cellar, but is enjoyable now.
Sestina: This wine is a blockbuster, with black currant, black raspberry, saddle leather, freshly tilled earth, vanilla, and violet on the nose. Exceedingly rich and balanced on the palate, with great poise and structure for long aging. The finish echoes with fresh black fruits, minerally touches, and floral notes.
"The 2015 Sestina is showing very well, offering up a rich, more exuberant bouquet than the 2014 rendition. This emphasizes notes of cassis, black plums, dark chocolate, espresso roast and a subtle framing of new oak. On the palate, it's full-bodied and lavish but controlled, with an ample, more sun-kissed core of fruit and fine-grained structuring tannins. Like the 2014, it's a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. While the 2014 and 2015 are quite different in style, it's hard to choose between them qualitatively. While it needs a few years in the cellar, I suspect the 2015 will hit its peak sooner. - William Kelley"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (Issue 237, June 29th 2018), 96 pts
Number #93 On Top 100 Cellar Selections From Wine Enthusiast
"The flagship 2015 Sestina checks in as 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new French oak. Gorgeous notes of blackcurrants, black cherries, graphite, wet river rock, and leafy herbs all emerge from this beautifully balanced, fresh, classic wine that's still tight and backward. It's not a blockbuster but has building richness and tannin, as well as a great finish. Give bottles 2-3 years and enjoy over the following 10-15."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2018), 95+ pts
Dark and chocolate, spiced with pretty notes of allspice and clove, this wine is round and rich, bursting with ripe berries, combined with an earthy complexity and a velvety finish.
Made from 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc
The wine spent 22 months on 75% new French oak with the remaining 25% second vintage French oak. Select barrels from the best forests of Taransaud, Boutes, Quintessance, and Vicard cooperages.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Cabernet Franc (30%) and Merlot, this wine seems a little green out of the gate, with aromas of herbs, cocoa, vanilla, black licorice, woodspice and black fruit. The fruit flavors display the warmth of this region, with the tannins providing some heft, stretching out over time. - Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
Tamarack Cellars’ 2011 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Reserve is an outstanding blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 29% Cabernet Franc that spent 22 months (each variety is kept separate until 12 months after the harvest) in 50% new and 50% once-used French oak. Classically styled, with lots of smoke tobacco, licorice and blackcurrant aromas and flavors, it has everything in the right place, in the right proportions, and is incredibly enjoyable to drink. Enjoy this medium to full-bodied, moderately tannic, balanced beauty over the coming decade, although it will probably last longer. - Robert Parker Wine Advocate 91 Points
Chartron & Trebuchet Pouilly-Fuisse is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Pale gold color with green highlights. The wine offers an amazing purity of fruit with enticing aromas of citrus (lemon and grapefruit) supported by a mineral character, toasty notes and roasted peanuts. The wine is rich, generous and elegant in the mouth with complex flavors and a mineral finish.
This Pouilly Fuissé is delicious as an aperitif or with mild tasting cheese (camembert, brie, blue, goat, gruyere...).