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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.
Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz is made from 100 percent Shiraz.
Lifted spice and ripe mulberry/blackberry aromas are complimented with chocolate, cedar and cinnamon on the nose. Well-integrated oak tannin provides flavors of clove and supple texture, which supports the rich plum, blackberry and mocha. The overall structure is supple and generous with fine-grained tannin and a lingering finish.
Fermentation took place over 10 – 12 days in a combination of open and static fermenters. The temperature was closely monitored to ensure the wine retains its natural fruit expression. New and older French and American oak was used for the maturation of selected wine parcels over a period of 13 months. These parcels were put together from our family estate to best demonstrate the depth and character of our fruit, balanced by integrated oak.
"The wine is named for local outcrops of 350 million-year-old pink-red granite. An exceptional value, rhubarb and plum is spicy and generously spreads across the palate. Blackberry preserves and licorice meet with white pepper and a stoniness that combines on the finish with dark chocolate cedar."
- The Tasting Panel (March 2020), 92 pts
Klinker Brick Winery Zinfandel Old Ghost made from 100 percent Zinfandel.
The Old Ghost represents the best Zinfandel that Klinker Brick produces each year. Brambleberry fruit aromas intermingled with anise, clove and exotic spice, echo previous vintages. Smaller berries harvested from this vineyard block tend to offer more “skin to flesh,” providing a greater level of smooth yet firm tannin and structure to this wine. Pair with your prime porterhouse or grilled lamb.
Appellation: Lodi (Mokelumne River)
Varietal: Old Vine Zinfandel
Residual Sugar: .33
This rich, ripe and showy wine offers a deep color, lavish spice aromas and mouthfilling chocolate and blackberry-jam flavors. Dramatic cinnamon, vanilla and ginger notes linger on the finish.
Wine Enthusiast 90 Points
Chavy-Chouet Bourgogne Blanc Les Saussots is made from 100 percent Chardonnay. A medium yellow straw color in the glass. On the nose, you will find layers aromas of cured lemon and hints of coconut and mango. On the palate, the juice has clean flavor, fresh acidity, and excellent balance. Vanilla notes follow through to the slightly creamy finish.
The grapes from this wines are grown from the Meursault area. (either outside of the AOC limit or with younger vines).
Seafood, fish, salad or by itself as an aperitif.
Drink this one now or over the next 3 to 4 years.
Arzuaga Ribera del Duero La Planta is made from 100% Tempranillo.
Deep violet red. Clean and bright with a range of red fruits (raspberry and cherry) that dominate with a high aromatic intensity, joined by balsamic, cacao, coffee, and roasted tones. Fresh, elegant, easy, and balanced in the mouth with a lightly sweet, toasted, and pleasant aftertaste.
Fried fish, sausage, and white meats such as roasted poultry.
"A juicy, fruity red with blackberry, bark and hints of dried fruit. Medium body, linear and fine tannins and a fruity finish. Quite ripe, but a nice feel to this young wine. Better in 2020."
- James Suckling (September 2020), 91 pts
Ecard Maurice Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir is 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Supple, fresh red wine with distinct fruitiness and showing a lot of the characteristics of the terroir from where the vines are situated with cherry, blackcurrant and raspberry aromas. Discreet tannins in the flavors give a more feminine image.
Growing in light and stony soil made up mainly of clay. The alcoholic vinification takes place in stainless steel vats followed by malolactic fermentation and aging for 6 months in 2 – 4 year old oak barrels.
A good all round red wine for meat courses, grills, barbecues and light cheeses.
Antica Vigna Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva is made from 65% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 10% Corvinone, 5% Merlot.
Amarone DOCG has maintained unchanged its typicality, so that “the essence of the territory” of Valle di Mezzane and Cazzano di Tramigna powerfully emerges. Rich in color, firmly structured but with fresh notes.
WINEMAKING AND AGING:
Manual harvest early October with selection of the best bunches.
Drying: natural drying in fruit cellar for 3/4 months with a sharp drop in weight of around 30%.
Vinification: soft crushing of destemmed grapes in the months of January and February.
Fermentation: at a controlled temperature of 18/21°C. Fermentation time: about 30 days
Aging:· 80% in oak barrels for 30 months of which 2/3 in American and French barriques, half of which are used for the second and third time, 1/3 in large
Geographical location: Tenuta di Mezzane, Tenuta di Cazzano di Tramigna
Height: 350/400 meters asl
Soil type: limestone
Vineyard training system: guyot and pergola
Vine planting year: from 1972 to 2009
Vine density: 4,000 to 5,400 vines per hectare Vineyard management: sustainable agriculture and great attention to natural
Pairs well with grilled and roasted meats, as well as cheese.
Rich in color, firmly structured but with fresh notes. Complex with depth and elegance on the palate,. Balanced notes of currant and wild berries that blend well with the complexity of the wine. Touches of tobacco and leather notes merge with ripe fruit flavors that linger on long strain tannin. This one is drinking now, but can handle more time in the cellar with ease.
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.
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
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
"La Brulade" is the name of a select slope located at an altitude of 400 meters overlooking the Mediterranean sea between La Baie d'Amour (the town of La Ciotat) in the South and La Sainte Baume in the North. This is one of the highest parcels in the Bandol appellation.
The wine is only produced in exceptional vintages. This carefully selected blend is made of 95% Mourvedre and 5% Grenache, aged in large French oak barrels for 24 months.
The wine shows a deep purple color. It is fresh and fruity on the nose with intense garrigue aromas. Structured, elegant and well-balanced on the palate with strong tannins. Licorice, ripe black fruits, garrigue flavors and some peppery freshness on the finish.
The 35-year old grapes are grown on clay and limestone soils and are farmed organically. Yield is very low - 15hl/ha. The grapes are harvested manually.
Winemaking: Double selection, destemming, crushing before skin contact fermentation. No filtration. Aging for 24 months in French oak casks (600L).
Grilled meat (lamb, beef, boar), Mediterranean cuisine, spicy dishes.
"The inky-colored 2015 Bandol Rouge la Brulade is 95% Mourvèdre, aged two years in demi-muids. Rich, plummy and intense, it showcases the power and majesty of Mourvèdre but somehow tames the tannins to manageable proportions. It's full-bodied and dense, boasting hints of lavender, thyme and sage to go along with the dark fruit flavors. It should drink well soon and remain strong through at least 2030. - Joe Czerwinski"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Interim end of September, September 2018), 93 pts
The flagship 2015 Bandol Brulade is a powerful, serious Bandol that knocks it out of the park with its monster nose of dark fruits, cured meats, sandalwood, olive tapenade, and leathery characteristics. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and pure, with plenty of sexy fruit, it’s a terrific, serious Bandol that needs another 2-3 years of bottle age and will keep for 15-20."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 27th 2019), 94 pts
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
Rinaldi Follie Pink is made from 50 % Dolcetto, 45 % Merlot, and 5 % Brachetto.
Fresh, fruity with hints of Strawberry and Cherry.
This is a great wine for Aperitif.
"Here’s a delightful aperitif wine to brighten your spirits as you prepare dinner or relax on the patio. Flavors of strawberries and raspberries throw a party in your glass and will bring a smile to your face. The blend is dolcetto and merlot, with a little brachetto. - Dave McIntyre"
- Washington Post (May 2020), Exceptional *** - Great Value