ABOUT THE WINE
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.
Despite the globally challenging 2017 vintage, which the estate suffered as spring frosts (battled with anti-frost windmills) and a warm end to the growing season, the grapes produced were nothing short of spectacular. A wine with gorgeous intensity and complexity. The supple ripe fruit is married with the warming and rich oak notes of cinnamon and vanilla while bursting with liquorice and fine Cuban tobacco. All in impeccable balance. As the wine opens up, it shows some of its red floral aspects with crushed violets. An inspiringly divine example.
Croquetas with Pata Negra Oro Viejop Jamon Iberico must be the most appropriate pairing, but a warm winter stew with red wine or intensely flavoured game birds are matched and made in heaven for this wine.
Valbuena 5° has often included small amounts of Merlot and other French varieties in previous vintages; this one has 5% in the blend.