2016 Valbuena 5°, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

2016 Valbuena 5°, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

Product: 20161240599
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2016 Valbuena 5°, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

Description

The 2016 Valbuena is dense, dark, almost monolithic wine at first with focused and brooding blackcurrant fruit. It is a Valbuena with huge potential; after eight hours in the glass, the wine is still extraordinarily fresh, revealing a top-note of chocolate-coated violet creams and the lightest hint of extremely pure peppermint. The mouthfeel is initially dominated by the high level of tannins which fall like soft, broad snowflakes on the palate yet with very pure, dark blackcurrant fruit behind. Liquid black cherries and bitter dark chocolate coat the mouth whilst lifted hints of violets appear along with exotic notes of rose petals. The wine is not yet mouthcoating though; it is still very upright at this stage, like a lieutenant standing to attention. It will need a long time to relax, to mellow and to reveal its true potential. This is a serious Valbuena, intense, dense and complex with an astonishingly long finish and an unbelievably long life ahead of it. Drink 2026-2055.
Catriona Felstead MW, Senior Buyer (January 2021)

Bright, Blueberry notes on a luscious and inviting nose.  This Valbuena is a great example from 2016, the medium-plus palate is bright and fresh, richly textured blue and black fruit that are impeccably balanced.  A really nice grip of tannin that teases the taste buds to take another sip.  This is a really good, well-honed Valbuena – a crowd pleaser but with class and precision – impeccably constructed with the right balance between fruit and structure – tempting to drink in the next 3-5 years but keep 10+ and you are in for a treat!
Stuart Rae, Fine Wine Commercial Manager (January 2021)
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3 x 75cl bottle
Berry Bros. & Rudd BB&R 20 cases £282.00
En Primeur Limited availability
En Primeur Limited availability

About this WINE

Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia, Spain's “first growth” and most prestigious wine estate, is located in Ribera del DueroIt was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of local grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec) and planted them, together with Spain’s signature grape Tinto Fino (aka Tempranillo) in the arid Ribera soils.

The winery begun building its formidable reputation after 1903 under the ownership of Antonio Herrero, winning a number of awards at home and overseas. The estate changed hands several more times before its acquisition by the current owners, the Álvarez family, in 1982.

The estate’s success is founded on its meticulous approach. In the vineyard it applies low yields, aided by green harvesting and painstaking selection at harvest. In the winery, wines are aged in any number of receptacles – using French and American, new and old oak, small barrels or huge vats – to engender further complexity. Despite prolonged barrel ageing, the fruit is never dried out or overly oaky – compelling evidence of the superb quality of its raw materials.

The Vega Sicilia range includes three cuvées: Único (literally translating as “unique”) is the flagship, followed by Único Reserva Especial (a multi-vintage blend) and their “entry-level” offering Valbuena 5° (an expression of Tinto Fino aged for five years, hence the “5°”). The top two wines are a blend of Tinto Fino with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot, depending on the vintage. They are both aged for approximately 10 years prior to release, normally spending six of those in barrel and three in bottle.

This illustrious property laid the founding stone for Ribera del Duero, which is now acknowledged to be one of the best wine regions in Spain.

Vega Sicilia has now built up a portfolio which includes Bodegas Alion (providing a more modern expression of Ribera del Duero),  Bodegas Pintia (in the emerging region  Toro), Macán (a partnership with Benjamin de Rothschild) and the Hungarian Tokaji estate, Oremus.

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Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero

In the last 30 years, Ribera del Duero has risen up to challenge Rioja for the crown of Spain's greatest wine region. Once known only as the home of Vega Sicilia it now boasts numerous bodegas of outstanding quality, from Hacienda Monasterio to Cillar de Silos. The region was granted its DO status in 1982, and today has over 200 wineries and more than 20,000 hectares of vines.

In the last 30 years, Ribera del Duero has emerged from almost nowhere to challenge Rioja for the crown of Spain's greatest wine region. Once known only as the home of Vega Sicilia it now boasts numerous bodegas of outstanding quality like Cillar de Silos, Alión and Hacienda Monasterio. Ribera del Duero was granted its DO status in 1982, at a time when only nine bodegas were operating there, yet today it has over 200 wineries and more than 20,000 hectares of vines. Most of Ribera del Duero's production is red, with only a modest quantity of rosado produced. No white wines are allowed under the DO.

Ribera del Duero owes its success to a combination of factors: firstly, its terroir of schistous sub-soil bears remarkable similarity to other famous winemaking regions such as the Douro and Priorat. Secondly, its microclimate, with its high altitude, hot days and cool nights (a phenomenon known as “diurnal variation”), ensures ripeness while preserving the vivacity of the fruit, aromatic flavours and refreshing acidity.

Thirdly, it has been blessed with an exceptional native grape, Tempranillo (also known as Tinto del País or Tinto Fino). This yields superb, complex red wines that are delicious when young but which also have the capacity to age into magnificent Gran Reservas. Finally, the immense influence of its winemakers has been key – historically, of course, Vega Sicilia, but more recently Peter Sisseck (Hacienda Monasterio) and the indefatigable Aragón family of Cillar de Silos.

The same DO rules govern Ribera's barrel-aged styles as for Rioja: Crianzas are aged for two years before release with at least a year in oak barrels; Reservas must be three years old with at least a year spent in oak; and, finally, Gran Reservas must be five years old before going on sale, with two years spent in barrel. The young (joven) unoaked red wines, called Roble, tend to boast a moreish, vibrant, bramble fruit while the best oak-aged styles of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva show intense, generous fruit, overlaid with notes of vanilla and sweet spice, and wrapped up in polished, elegant tannins.

Recommended producers: Vega Sicilia (including Alión), Cillar de Silos, Hacienda Monasterio

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Tempranillo/Tinto Fino

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino

A high quality red wine grape that is grown all over Spain except in the hot South - it is known as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Cencibel in La Mancha and Valdepenas and Ull de Llebre in Catalonia. Its spiritual home is in Rioja and Navarra where it constitutes around 70% of most red blends.

Tempranillo-based wines tend to have a spicy, herbal, tobacco-like character accompanied by ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits. It produces fresh, vibrantly fruit driven "jovenes" meant for drinking young. However Tempranillo really comes into its own when oak aged, as with the top Riojas  where its flavours seem to harmonise perfectly with both French and American oak, producing rich, powerful and concentrated wines which can be extraordinarily long-lived.

In Ribera del Duero it generally sees less oak - the exception being Vega Sicilia where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and then aged for an astonishing 7 years in oak and is unquestionably one of the world`s greatest wines.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

Wine Advocate96/100
James Suckling95/100

Critic reviews

Wine Advocate96/100
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 flavors. 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.
Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate (December 2020) Read more
James Suckling95/100
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 flavors are intense, but not overdone. Drink now or hold.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, (December 2020) Read more