The 2005 Valbuena is purple/black in color with an alluring nose of pain grille, pencil lead, Asian spices, espresso, incense, and blackberry. On the palate it reveals its elegant personality, round texture, savory flavors, and lengthy, pure finish. It merits 4-6 years of cellaring to fully unwind and will offer prime drinking from 2014 to 2030. Bodegas Vega Sicilia remains a benchmark for the world’s great red wines. The Valbuena bottling receives 3 years in barrel and 2 years in bottle prior to release. On the occasion of my visit in May 2010, the three Reserva Especials already in bottle and awaiting release were tasted side by side. They are identified (for the purposes of this review only) as the 2013 Release, the 2012 Release, and the 2011 Release. I was not told what vintages are in each bottling but it actually makes little difference. The Reserva Especials are blended to a house style designed to reflect Vega Sicilia at its very best. The vagaries of vintage (as reflected in Unico) are blended away leaving a wine that is, in my opinion, better than any of the single vintage wines with the possible exception of the 1942.
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1986 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial Rioja (Pre-Arrival, Elsewhere $700)