Valbuena 2010 is a thoroughly brilliant wine. Not only did the vintage conditions in 2010 give rise to some of the finest fruit they’d ever harvested at Vega, but it also marked the year a great investment was realised in the winemaking facilities. A huge number of extra fermentation vats were deployed in a state of the art new winery that allows for the gentlest handling (the lifts are quite something) of up to 81 different parcels – up from just 29 before. The extra level of control and detail that this allows Javier Ausas and his team appears to have made an immediate impression for this is undoubtedly the finest Valbuena we’ve ever tasted. It marries hedonism with a really very precise tannic structure, deeply complex fruit and a very assured sense of itself. Whereas in the past perhaps Valbuena could sometimes be seen as a bit of a rough diamond, in 2010 it displays a polish and focus worthy of the grand vin itself.
Comprised of 95% Tempranillo with 5% Merlot it heralds an important brace of wines at Vega that could quite possibly represent a benchmark to which other vintages will in future aspire to.
Vega Sicilia Unico 2007 will be released in a few weeks’ time after we’ve had the chance to taste it.
Wine Advocate 96 points (Luis Gutierrez WA #214)
Since the 2010 harvest, they ferment plot by plot, and it shows. 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. 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 flavours. It is a world-class wine, possibly the best Valbuena ever. 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.
Stocks will be shipped from the estate Spring 2015.