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A wine that shows the splendor of each vintage based on the wisdom of the past and the wealth of the present. A mellow, passionate, and living style that year after year, challenge after challenge, harvest after harvest reinterprets its style to keep its essence intact.
Valbuena, is the purest expression of the Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) in Vega Sicilia. Tinto Fino is clearly the predominant wine in the assemblage of the varieties that make up this magnificent wine. The other variety used is Merlot, which is added to a greater or lesser extent depending on the vintage.
The venerable Vega Sicilia, Spain’s most famous winery is located at Valbuena del Duero, 30 km east of the ancient university town of Valladolid. The northern boundary of the estate is marked by the main road that runs along the left bank of the Duero (Douro) river between the river bank and the hilltops are some of Spain’s most prized vineyards, on north-facing slopes at altitudes of 750-800m above sea level.
Care begins in the vineyards. Neither chemical fertilizers nor herbicides are used, but organic compost will be added if the vines are suffering unduly. This way, the high average age of the vineyards is maintained. The combination of old vines and severe pruning limits yields, which are further reduced by strict selection at harvest time. The altitude and cold nights delay ripening, and Vega Sicilia only harvest when the grapes are truly ready, which means late October or even November on occasion. Picking is by hand, and the crop is transported to the bodega in small creates so as to arrive in perfect condition.
The Valbuena Tempranillo is obtained from plots located on gentle concave slopes that descend from the wasteland. Those soils are made up of material that was eroded and accumulated as colluvial on the lower slopes, developing a high profile soil, with a specific important evolution with the formation of a deep calcic horizon.
Valbuena provides Vega Sicilia with a direct and understandable view of the greatness of this "terroir" with the direct influence of each vintage. Its production remains unchanged meaning that it is each year's weather factors that mark the differences between the different harvests.
After fermentation, it is aged for five years, between wood and in the bottle, which is why it is called Valbuena 5º. French and American wood, new and used 225-liter barrels, 20,000-liter vats, a long and complex process for a great bottle of wine.
Aging: 12 months, 100% in new French and American oak.
Tasting Notes: 93% Tempranillo 7% Merlot and Malbec. Intense aromas of fruit, fennel, and licorice, together with toast. Well-balanced, soft, and elegant tannins. Wide and persistent.
The 2008 Valbuena is produced with Tempranillo and 7% Merlot and Malbec from a cold, rainy season and late harvest. It reminds me of the Riberas of yesteryear, sharper with a slight rusticity, long and sharp. Once fermented, the wine matured for seven months in 20,000-liter oak vats, 12 months in new barriques (equal parts French and American oak), three months in used barrels, and then six months in the vats again before being bottled in May 2011. The aromas are subtle, there is fruit, but there is soil and above all there is harmony. The palate is long rather than round, with some blood orange notes, sharp and austere, a serious wine that should age very well. ~94 Wine Advocate
Vega Sicilia’s 2008 Tinto Valbuena 5 Anos is compelling. A young, intense wine, the 2008 is going to need significant time to fully come together, but it boasts superb depth, persistence, and a total sense of harmony. Hints of cedar, tobacco, and sweet spices wrap around an intense core of dark fruit. ~94 Vinous Media
Opaque ruby. Sexy, oak-spicy aromas of dark berry preserves, pipe tobacco, licorice, and vanilla, with a smoky overtone. Plush, expansive blueberry, and cherry-vanilla flavors show superb depth and pick up Indian spice and bitter chocolate nuances with air. Finishes sweet and seamless, with slow-building tannins and a whiplash of sweet blue fruit ~93 Stephen Tanzer
Made from the younger vines at Vega Sicilia--80 percent Tinto fino, the balance Cabernet and Merlot--this is one of the best vintages of Valbuena in recent memory: a fountain of red fruit, intense in flavor, yet with more lively freshness than typical for Ribera del Duero. The acidity forms a steel rail that projects the flavors and nuanced aromas off into the distance. It’s surprisingly easy to drink, especially for a wine of this price ~93 Wine & Spirits
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