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. The average production of Valbuena is around 180,000 bottles and 2008 was no exception. Drink now-2022.
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.
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.
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
This supple red shows a solid balance of fresh fruit and maturing flavors of tobacco and leather, featuring well-integrated tannins, with lively acidity and a finish of vanilla and spice.
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1986 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial Rioja (Pre-Arrival, Elsewhere $700)