Opaque ruby. Powerful, deeply pitched red and dark berry preserve, incense and floral pastille scents are enlivened by an intense mineral quality. Concentrated yet strikingly vibrant and focused on the palate, showing bitter cherry, black raspberry and vanilla flavors that spread out with air while maintaining urgency. An extremely long, sweet, penetrating finish features velvety, harmonious tannins that provide gentle grip to the wine’s sappy berry fruit and candied lavender qualities. This stunning wine was aged for 18 months in new oak, half of it American and half of it French. I can’t recall a better version of this bottling at this stage of its development and I hesitate to apply an arbitrary drinking window here as I’m sure that it will outlive me.
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2040
Robert Parker 96
Since the 2010 harvest, they ferment plot by plot, and it shows. This Valbuena has almost 100 components in it, smaller lots, all of them corresponding to a plot of vines. It has all the signs of being one of the best vintages ever for this second wine from Vega Sicilia, mostly Tempranillo but with 5% Merlot that matured five months in 20,000-liter oak vats, 18 months in new barriques (equal parts French and American oak), three months in used barrels and then five months in the vats again before being bottled in May 2013. 2010 seems to have the exuberance of the 2011 and the seriousness and elegance of 2009. It has the Burgundian philosophy of terroir, with all plots fermented and aged separately, giving each vineyard what it needs in terms of vinification and elevage resulting in something like 40 separate lots to blend. This wine has gained in precision and sharpness, and is very pure with delineated aromas and flavors. It is a world-class wine, possibly the best Valbuena ever. 180,000 bottles and some bigger-sized formats were filled. The wine will be released in 2015. Drink 2016-2025. I tasted the latest three vintages of Valbuena, to get up to speed with what’s in the market. If there’s a wine in their collection that has seen a huge improvement since 1998, it is Valbuena, which had been kind of neglected since the launch of Alion in the early 1990s. For Valbuena, they do not want a second wine in the Bordeaux style. But with the competitive Alion breathing down its neck and the pressure of its big brother, it felt a bit out of place. So they decided to look back at the vineyards: they studied the soils and saw why Unico and Valbuena had been (empirically) produced from separated plots. Importer: Christopher Cannan, Europvin; www.europvin.com
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2025