Bodegas Vega-Sicilia, Valbuena 50, DO Ribera del Duero, Valbuena de Duero, Valladolid, Castile Y Leon, Spain, 2011
This wine: lot No. (Lote) 050, bottle No. 149125, a tempranillo dominated blend, with merlot; fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts, then aged over ~3 years in oak – French and American, both new and used 225-litre barrels, and 20,000 litre vats, and then 2 in bottle; coated natural cork closure, 14.5% abv, The Wine Society, £84 (04/17)
Consumer tasting note: a deep ruby hue, following into rich ripe aromas of black cherry and berries, spicy, with deft use of oak trailing vanilla and spice, cedar and dark chocolate; full-bodied, the alcohol seems a tad higher than the 14.5% on the label, but it’s not serious; showing ripe tannins and a velvety texture, again, black cherry and berries, lightly tarry liquorice, with an edge of coconut from the American oak, with a savouriness of black olive, cedar and leaf humus, on the end of a very long length.
Drink now – RTD, but will keep – Wait. Decant for 30 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears [a tiny quantity of fine soft sediment].
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of smoke, slightly lifted rich ripe black cherry, warm black liquorice, a low-key fatty-meaty note, spicy, a fleeting whiff of warm toast, a creamy lactic edge, black olive, beeswax, leaf humus, touch of black pepper, warm squashed black berry, cedary hints, hint of blackcurrant boiled sweets, hint of vanilla, red plum jam, whiff of dark chocolate.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe soft medium tannins, high alcohol, full body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth velvety texture, with flavours of ripe black cherry, black liquorice with a tarry edge, a more delicate note of stewed blackberry, a creamy lactic edge, a suggestion of coconut, a little savoury, hint of cedar. A sound long length (~30 s), with a clean quite warming finish of rich black berries and fruits, edged with black liquorice and a lightly savoury ending.
Quality: outstanding, the fresh(ish) acidity and ripe smooth tannins are a foil to the high quite warming alcohol, which does tend to stick out a little – nevertheless any shortcoming ends there; showing quite strong intensity throughout, with similar concentration; a high level of complexity on the nose, lesser in mid-palate, with evidence of time in deftly used oak, with at least some American (cedar, coconut (Am.), spice, toast, vanilla), and bottle (beeswax, black olive, cedar, chocolate, leaf humus, savoury); follows into a very long length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing, over say 2-4 years – a sound structure, alcohol is a touch high, which can be forgiven once its other qualities are listed; tertiary development is underway, with plenty of primary fruit to work with.