2015 Vega Sicilia, Ribera Del Duero Valbuena 5 | Friarwood Fine Wines

2015 Vega Sicilia, Ribera Del Duero Valbuena 5

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Arguably the most prestigious Spanish wine estate, Vega Sicilia was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who brought cuttings from France and planted them, along with native Tempranillo, in the stark landscape of Ribera del Duero. Favoured by the Spanish dictator Franco, Vega Sicilia survived the 20th Century with its lands and reputation intact, and after several changes in ownership, is now the centre of a web of wineries operating under the banner of Tempus Vega Sicilia. Valbuena is produced from younger vines on the property (the older vines are used for their flagship, Unico), and is released earlier than the flagship, with a character more clearly defined by vintage rather than ageing.

A warm, dry vintage, of exceptional quality. Parcels were fermented and aged separately (the practice since 2010) in order to ensure that each component was handled in the way best suited to that plot. On average the wine has seen 18 months in French and American oak barrels, followed by another 18 months in 20,000-litre oak vats, although some parcels spent longer in one or the other maturation-vessel. It's explosive and showy, with a complex nose that shows a mixture of flowers and wild herbs, balsamic touches and great nuance. Exceptional length; this is a very good vintage for this wine.

It seems prosaic to suggest Iberico as a pairing for this wine, but it would suit, as would a flavoursome steak, roast lamb or an aubergine-based vegetarian dish.

Valbuena 5° has often included small amounts of Merlot and other French varieties in previous vintages; this one has 5% in the blend.


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