On the pour: Valbuena 5°
Author: Joshua Friend
What is it? This wine is the “entry-level” offering from Bodegas Vega Sicilia, one of Spain’s most prestigious wineries. In reality, it is far from entry-level: this is serious stuff. Consisting mostly of Tinto Fino (the local name for Tempranillo) with a splash of Merlot (5%), it’s benchmark Ribera del Duero.
Why’s it different? Gonzalo Iturriaga – the winemaker at Vega Sicilia – has an incredibly precise approach to winemaking. It all starts in the vineyard, with low yields and work by hand, while he works with an array of oak vessels – American and French, new and old oak, small barrels or huge vats – all adding to this wine’s fantastic complexity. The 2014 vintage was outstanding, and the resulting wine is delicious, with expressive notes of raspberries, blackberries, spice with a gentle smoky touch, and the tannins are smooth as you like. This is a beautifully balanced wine, offering a slightly more elegant style compared to previous vintages. It will come into its own from 2024, but has a long future ahead of it.
What should I eat with it? A nice rack of lamb, mashed potato and some seasonal vegetables, possibly with a cheese course to linger over.
How much? £6 for a taste (normally £8), £148 for a bottle
Drop into our London Shop at 63 Pall Mall to taste it for yourself.