Bodegas Vega Sicilia is a Spanish winery located in the Ribera del Duero Denominación de Origen in the Province of Valladolid, Castile and León (northern Spain). The winery was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who planted various grapes from the Bordeaux wine region of France, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are still being used in the wines today.
Since 1982, the same year that the Ribera del Duero was granted Denominación de Origen (DO) status, the winery has been owned by the Álvarez family who are members of the Primum Familiae Vini.
In comparing the wines of Spain to the First Growth wines of Bordeaux, wine expert Hugh Johnson, after comparing Rioja producers Marqués de Riscal and Marqués de Murrieta to Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Mouton Rothschild, respectively, stated: “Vega Sicilia is the Latour; but Latour of a vintage that has raisined the grapes and fried the picking crews.”—a reference to the significantly warmer climate and different growing conditions of the Ribera del Duero.
Vega Sicilia’s wines are recognised worldwide as some of the finest and most valued red wines on the market.
Vega Sicilia is noted for its patience in winemaking and willingness to hold onto their inventory and age their wines in the barrel and bottle for many years until it fits the style that the producers are looking for. Depending on the vintage, the wine could be held by Vega Sicilia for decades until it is released. For example, in 1991 the winery released both the 1968 and 1982 vintages after 23 and 9 years aging.
Valbuena 5° – The 5° indicates that this wine has been aged for five years prior to release. The wine is composed mostly of Tempranillo, with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
This wine was re-tasted prior to this report with similar descriptors to my previous tasting for a report I published earlier this year and the score was the same. Cropped from an unusually cold and rainy vintage in which they will not bottle Único, the 2013 Valbuena is always released in its fifth year. It’s mostly Tempranillo with 5% Merlot that was put through a three- to four-day cold soak in the oak vats, where it fermented with indigenous yeasts and was pumped over. It matured in new and used 225-liter French and American oak barriques and also in 20,000-liter oak vats, where the larger vessels respect the fruit, especially in a more fragile vintage like 2013. It’s a very elegant and fresh Valbuena with a developed nose, quite classical with a fine texture, elegant tannins and a supple, long finish where the oak is still quite obvious. I liked it very much and consider it a triumph over the challenges of the year. 150,650 bottles and some larger formats were produced. It was bottled in June 2015. [94 Points, Luis Gutierrez – August 2018 , robertparker.com]