My first Valbuena. Opened after a 2006 Brancaia Ilatraia (which I did not like much) as I was expecting something of a similarly big style, with generous, sweet black fruit and a fair bit of oak (I think I had an Alion once before) - and then this blew the Ilatraia simply away. A fairly mature dark garnet, slightly browning at the translucent rim. An intriguing and complex nose with some dried fruit, but not the sweet kind, earth and sulphur. A mature palate with secondary notes of earth, leather, bitter chocolate. Very well balanced and precise. Fine to medium tannins. Medium finish. Very, very good. 93-94
Decanted for 2 hours. Nice and complex bouquet made of red cherries, blackberries and kirsh liquor. It adds smoked aromas, cedar, tobacco as well as mint and eucaliptus after an hour in glass. On palate this is very elegant and pleasurable. On palate entry it has a present, slight drying tannin. Fruit is mouth covering, enveloping the palate with fruit, sweet tannins and a wonderful acidity. Finish is remarkably long. A very well made wine. Excellent (92-94).
Boerne Wine Club - Spain (Scenic Loop Cafe, San Antonio, TX)): Opened an unknown time prior to tasting, but likely >4hrs. Nose was quite fragrant, roasted, with coffee and licorice, and a mild citrus edge. Palate was quite smooth with a glycerine feel that coats the mouth. Dark fruit profile, with a mild peppermint quality and a lengthy creamy coffeee finish. Topped only by the Unico this night. Would expect to improve with time, though surprisingly open now. Group #2
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(Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5°) From magnum - dark red violet color; aromatic, olive, roasted plum, roast coffee, tar nose; tasty, poised, youthful, black currant, roast coffee, tar, black cherry palate; long finish 93+ points
(Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5°) Tempranillo 85%, Merlot & Malbec 15%. A difficult vintage, with an extensive green harvest and as a result amazingly low yields - 6 hl/ha!. Bottled July 2003, due for release 2005. A dense, brooding colour in the glass. The nose is very primary, dominated by the blackberry fruit of the Tempranillo, with a dense, smoky character. A buttery, fruit crumble character belies the young oak that has yet to integrate. Pure, ripe fruit on the palate, with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Very good structure with ripe tannins. A hint of elegance - good balance. Very together wine. Needs five years at least.
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