It seemed like only yesterday (it was actually November, 2017) we were excitedly jabbering on about the return of one of our favorite go-to Riojas after a long absence from the marketplace. At the time, probably a decade or so ago, we were presented with the Valsacro Dioro 2001. It was love at first sip and we kept a few bottles back for ourselves (though not enough) that we consumed with gusto over the next few years.
Our reunion offer that aforementioned November involved the 2010 Vinsacro Dioro (which had subsequently been renamed Vinsacro for reasons unknown to us). The 2010 was a most pleasant déjà vu because it was the same fruit driven, polished, creamy, supple, hedonistic red we had remembered from our first experience all those years ago.
The first time around (the 2001) we don’t remember seeing any press at the time. But the 2010 had also caught the attention of Wine Advocate’s Luis Gutierrez who launched a rather detailed piece describing this unique estate in Rioja Baja that had been owned by the same family for four generations. The short story is that the vineyard is up to a century old and the grapes are planted to a field blend that the family refers to as ‘Vidau’. The fruit is hand harvested into small crates and the Dioro goes through four separate steps in the selection process, ending up as a ‘best barrels’ cuvee.
Luis’ notes say, “The 2010 Vinsacro Dioro opens to an explosion of flowers and ripe blueberries that is very perfumed. It feels quite modern and aromatic with well-integrated oak and a luscious palate. This is produced from a field blend they call Vidau, which, in their case it is approximately 50% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and a myriad of other grapes like Graciano and even Monastrell…92 points.” Yeah it’s that whole explosion of berries and ‘luscious palate’ that keeps us coming back, plus we were selling at more than 50% off Luis’ stated ‘retail’ price.
Good times were had by all then, and when we waltzed through a slug of the winery’s 2015 Vinsacro Dioro in August of the following year. Similar story, 92 point, shamelessly engaging, supple Rioja redolent with dark plum/blueberry fruit tinged by spice, lead pencil, notes of cocoa being sold for a fraction of its original retail. Again, here’s an extremely pretty wine from a clearly committed producer, from a great vintage, for pennies on the dollar? We love the story line…it’s so Winex!
But mostly we love the wine.
So when we were approached with the 2005, another great vintage (this one was still labeled Valsacro), the choice was easy. Where had this wine been for the last decade plus? No clue, but it is in a verygood place now. Thanks to the additional time in bottle the 2005 Valsacro Dioro is a harmonious, hedonistic marvel. We found reviews from back in the day, dueling ‘92s’ from Vinous’ (then IWC) Josh Raynolds and Advocate’s reviewer at the time Jay Miller, significantly different palates.
From Jay Miller, June, 2010, “The 2005 Dioro was produced from a stricter selection and was aged in new French oak for 12-14 months. A saturated purple color, it displays a brooding bouquet of wood smoke, pencil lead, espresso, truffle, and blackberry. Dense and loaded on the palate, it has gobs of ripe black fruit, excellent balance, and a lengthy, pure finish. It will continue to blossom over the next 3-4 years and have a drinking window extending from 2014 to 2025…92 points. (list $57). “
From Josh Raynolds, September, 2011, “(aged in new French oak): Glass-staining ruby. Extremely perfumed, oak-accented nose displays cherry-vanilla and blackberry preserves, with a sexy floral note and building spiciness. Full-bodied and velvety, offering palate-coating flavors of macerated cherry, dark berries and vanilla bean. Finishes very long and sweet, with persistent spiciness and a hint of smoke. An extremely attractive and balanced example of the modern style…92 points.”
The plush, creamy texture, integrated fruit and terroir components, superb balance, and silky finish are like few wines in the marketplace at any price. We have consumed a good bit of this already and have plans to do a lot more. Once again we are able to offer this absolutely delicious wine, bottle age included, for under $20!
We have stocked a bit more for ourselves this time around because the stuff doesn’t seem to last long in the cellar (not that it wouldn’t if we left it alone). The 2005 Valsacro Rioja Dioro 2005 one to buy by the case.
The same could be said for the 2015 Vinsacro Rioja Dioro, of which we recently got a reload. The short story here is that this is another offering from this very appealing house that was a Wine Advocate 92 for this wine, at a list price of $65, only we are also selling it for a ridiculous$19.98!