Valsacro Rioja “Dioro” 2005 made the sale rounds several months back, showing up at drastically reduced prices on Lot 18, Wine.com and my go-to guy, Garagiste. With a suggested retail of $50-$60, but offered at the crazy tariff of $19.99 by Garagiste, I felt compelled to give it a try. I don’t care much for scores, so I relied on the detailed winery and tasting notes to convince my trigger finger (or rather a left-click of the mouse) to order a bottle. Valsacro Dioro is still available on wine.com for $24.99, as well as a smattering of other smaller shops for $19.99, found using wine-searcher.
Dioro is the premier bottling out of the new Valsacro winery, built by the Escudero brothers in the Baja region of Rioja. The brothers, once under the tutelage of their father, broke free of his small, traditionally minded bodega in order to pursue their own modern-style of winemaking. The Dioro is a blend of Graciano, Tempranillo, Carignan and Garnacha, and is the result of a rigorous grape selection process, followed by 12-14 months in the winery’s best French oak barrels.
I love the vibrant, inky-purple depths of color in my glass; we wine drinkers sometimes mistakenly believe deep color will reveal intense flavor, but in this case, the foreshadowing was dead on. The palate is dense, sexy and velvety-smooth, with traces of smoked meat, pepper-spice and a cornucopia of black fruits. Juicy, balanced and heavenly if you can get it for $19.99.