2003 Vega Sicilia Valbuena

Year: 2003
Appellation: Ribera del Duero
Country: Spain
Wine Spectator: 87
Wine Advocate: 94
Vinous Media: 93
Wine Enthusiast: 90
Red Wine
Price :
$139.95
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"Meaty and gamy notes give a rustic cast to this thick red. It's very ripe, with plum and raisin flavors, but retains enough acidity for freshness. Drink now through 2013. 15,500 cases made." (WS)

"The 2003 Valbuena is purple-colored and super-fragrant with aromas of pain grille, pencil lead, black currant, and blackberry liqueur. This is followed by a powerful, concentrated wine with an opulent palate-feel, layers of flavor, and beautiful integration of oak, tannin, and acidity, no mean feat in the torrid 2003 vintage. Supple, sweet, and long, this superb effort will evolve for another 4-6 years and drink well through 2025. " (WA)

($195) Deep ruby. Intensely perfumed aromas of smoky cherry and cured meat, complemented by vanillin oak, baking spices and dried rose. Chewy red berry and cherry flavors are firmed by dusty tannins and given lift by a jolt of tangy minerality. Picks up bitter cherry skin and pit on the long, refreshingly juicy finish. No way I'd have guessed this to have come from a hot vintage." (IWC)

"Valbuena is Vega Sicilia’s so-called second wine, and this vintage is elegant and lithe. To equate it to Burgundian Pinot Noir is not a stretch, seeing that the nose is earthy and dry, with fresh flowers, leather and tobacco aromas. The palate is light and full of finesse, with airy cranberry, earth and cherry flavors. From a poor vintage, this is more than… " (WE)

Winery Notes:
To lovers of fine wines, Vega Sicilia needs little introduction. This is by far the most prestigious wine estate in Spain, with an almost mythical reputation for quality and rarity. The property is located 100 miles north of Madrid in the shallow Duero (Douro) river valley on the high remote plateau of Castilla y Léon. The altitude is over 700 metres creating a special climate ; the cold nights and hot days during the crucial ripening period in September largely contribute to the uniqueness of Vega Sicilia. In a good vintage only about 20.000 cases of wine are made and subsequently sold on a strict allocation basis. Demand in Spain alone well exceeds the total quantity available. The grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec, first brought to the estate from Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé vineyards in 1864.

The other unique particularity of Vega Sicilia is the long maturation in cask and bottle before release. The Valbuena is only released after 5 years...3 years in cask and 2 years in bottle. The Unico is always at least 10 years old and sometimes as much as 25 years old before release, depending on the quality of the vintage and its capacity to age. The wines are truly remarkable with enormous complexity, intensity and richness. The soft velvety texture, gorgeous mature flavours of black fruit, leather and oak are absolutely unique. Where in the world does one find a wine that is released in confidential quantities only when completely ready to drink?