Country: Spain Region: Ribera del Duero Varietal: 95% Tinto Fino, 5% Merlot
Vintage: 2016 Colour: Red Style: Dry
Producer: Vega Sicilia
Few wines have a history as distinguished as that of Vega Sicilia. Founded in the 1860’s, its reputation on its flagship vintage has for more than 100 years produced two great wines, each appropriately named "Único."
It was at Vega Sicilia in Ribera del Duero, two hours from Madrid, that Tempranillo proved its potential for greatness. When the estate's original founder, Don Eloy Lecanda Chaves returned from France with cuttings of Bordeaux varietals, he planted them alongside the indigenous variety, then known simply as Tinto del Pais, or “Country Red”, but today known as Tinto Fino or Tempranillo. Surprisingly, it was the Tempranillo that produced the superior wine.
Today, the market for Vega Sicilia is one of scarcity and increasing demand. Vega Sicilia’s growing fame and desirability is testament not only to the estate’s enduring legacy but to the world’s craving for wines of history and noble bearing.
Valbuena is the purest expression of red wine at Vega Sicilia and is aged for five years between barrel and bottle, which lends its name to the end product. Valbuena 5º 2016 is the perfect balance between elegance, complexity and concentration. Pure harmony.
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Valbuena was produced with a blend of 94% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 6% Merlot from 140 hectares dedicated to this wine. It fermented with indigenous yeasts, and the first year it matured in barrels (75% French, 25% American) and the second year in large oak vats. This is again a floral and elegant vintage of Valbuena, very much in line with what has happened in the best vintages since 2010. 2016 is going to be a wine that the public is going to like; it has an extroverted personality and is perfumed and generous, juicy and tasty and nicely textured, with fine-grained tannins and very focused and clean flavours. 2016 was a year of very good freshness in Ribera del Duero, a year they like even better than 2018. 182,882 bottles, 6,030 magnums and a few larger formats were produced. It was bottled in June 2019. (LG)
96 points Wine & Spirits
This is the second vintage of Valbuena for Gonzalo Iturriaga, the Rioja-born technical director of Vega-Sicilia. And if it is any indication of his talents, the young Iturriaga has a lot to contribute to this iconic Castilian estate. The fruit for Valbuena comes from vines on Vega-Sicilia’s north-facing hillside in Valladolid, below the parcels that go into Unico, and above the road that separates the hillside from the bodega itself and the richer soils approaching the Duero river. In 2016, it has the exuberant energy of spring, cool and sunny with scents of Queen Anne’s lace and wild anise. The floral fruit ranges from the high-toned brightness of an August tomato to the deeper tones of green figs and dark plums. Then, the spicy note of crystalized ginger in the finish has an earthiness that calls to mind the crystalized gypsum in the soil on this hill. A remarkably elegant take on Valbuena, this is a wine to covet for your cellar.
95 points James Suckling
Gorgeous aromas of blackberries, black chocolate and shitake mushrooms follow through to a full body with round, plush tannins that are corduroy in texture. The flavours are intense, but not overdone.
95 points Vinous
Dark violet. Powerful red and dark fruit preserve, pipe tobacco and potpourri aromas are complemented by exotic spice, mocha and incense flourishes. Sappy and energetic in character, offering palate-staining blackberry, cherry liqueur, floral pastille and spicecake flavours underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Gently chewy tannins build steadily on an impressively long, focused and penetrating finish that leaves smoky mineral, floral and juicy dark berry notes behind. (JR)
94 points Wine Spectator
This red shows both power and finesse, with generous flavours of ripe red plum and currant accented with anise, cedar, olive and wild herb. Spice and loamy earth notes fine-tune the finish. Tinto Fino and Merlot. Drink now through 2040. (GS)
Food Matches: Beef, Lamb, Game