Bodegas Vega Sicilia Valbuena 2008
Other Red Blends from Ribera del Duero, Spain
The Valbuena red has aged for less time than the Vega Sicilia Único. It is a wine that comes from the younger vines and, it is mostly made with the varieties of tempranillo and more merlot than cabernet sauvignon. It has the garnet cherry red color of its older brother, with orangey undertones, the ethereal expression of its alcohol content and the accent of an excellent oxidative evolution, which is the fruit of oak that has been well tanned, which is a characteristic of the company's red wines. Its personality is reminiscent of the varieties used, with a hint of ripe red fruit. In the mouth, it has less structure than the Vega Sicilia Único, but holdsthe complexity of the wine-fruit association.
The Wine Advocate - "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."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "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."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "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."
Wine Spectator - "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. Not showy, but harmonious."
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Bodegas Vega Sicilia Winery
The foundations of Vega Sicilia's traditions may be found as far back as 1859, when Don Eloy Lecanda Chaves was gifted an estate by his wealthy father. The origins of the Vega Sicilia winery are officially regarded as 1864, which was when Don Eloy Lecanda Chaves returned from his travels in Bordeaux with vine cuttings, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Carmenere - all of which were found in Bordeaux at that time - and, curiously, some Pinot Noir. Regardless of how Pinot Noir arrived, the cuttings were duly propagated and planted at Vega Sicilia, although the Carmenere and Pinot Noir are no longer found in the Vega Sicilia vineyards.
Vega Sicilia's Tempranillo is trained in gobelet fashion, whereas the French varieties are trained in a Guyot system. Green harvesting is employed ruthlessly in order to control yields, and the harvest itself is meticulous. In the winery, such a massive wine will withstand many years in wood and Unico sees a complicated series of rackings from huge barrels to new oak, to used American oak, back to new oak again, and on it goes. Whatever these phases are called, Unico certainly receives very prolonged barrel ageing, with the 1970 seeing over sixteen years! And yet these are not washed out, stretched, overly oaky wines when mature, testimony to the quality of the raw materials on which they are based.
-Chris Kissack, The Winedoctor View all Bodegas Vega Sicilia Wines
About Ribera del DueroView a map of Ribera del Duero wineries (rib-EHR-ah del dwehr-oh)
Notable FactsRibera’s main grape variety, Tempranillo, locally known as Tinto Fino, is perfectly suited to the extreme climate of the region, where it must survive scorching summers and frigid winters. Low yields resulting from conscientious tending to old vines planted in Ribera's diverse soils types, give Ribera wines a distinctive depth and complexity not found in other Tempranillos. Rich and full-bodied, Ribera del Duero wines pair well with roast meats and aged cheeses.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
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