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Vega Sicilia Valbuena, Ribera del Duero 2011

Red Wine from Spain - Ribera del Duero
The perfumed, rich 2011 Valbuena – only the second to be made at the brand new Vega Sicilia winery – is a delicious, complex and stylish fine wine. It is made from 100% tinto fino (temparanillo), carefully selected and matured in French and American oak for around three years. Intense and powerful yet tightly woven and harmonious, this has lovely silky tannins and a stylish finish. Approachable now if decanted.
is no longer available
Code: SP11631

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Tempranillo
  • 14.5% Alcohol
  • Bouquet/flavour marked by oak
  • Now to 2023
  • Cork, natural

Ribera del Duero

This relatively young Denominación de Origen, established only in 1982, lies within the Castilla y Léon region of north-west Spain and has fast become one of the superstars among that nation’s increasingly stellar array of wine producing areas. Long in the shadow of the more famous Rioja region to the north-east, Ribera now makes some of Spain’s most iconic, and fine, wines.

The Duero river modifies the extremes of the climate in this high (between 750 and 900 metres above sea level), continental region which is prone to dramatic hailstorms, frosts and heat. Its success is due to the quality of the tinto del pais grape, a local clone of the tempranillo variety, which produces dark, fresh, elegant, intense wines of good structure. The swing between hot daytime temperatures and cooler nights help maintain the wonderful balance and natural freshness.

There are increased plantings of Bordeaux varieties alongside it, though cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec have been present in the...
This relatively young Denominación de Origen, established only in 1982, lies within the Castilla y Léon region of north-west Spain and has fast become one of the superstars among that nation’s increasingly stellar array of wine producing areas. Long in the shadow of the more famous Rioja region to the north-east, Ribera now makes some of Spain’s most iconic, and fine, wines.

The Duero river modifies the extremes of the climate in this high (between 750 and 900 metres above sea level), continental region which is prone to dramatic hailstorms, frosts and heat. Its success is due to the quality of the tinto del pais grape, a local clone of the tempranillo variety, which produces dark, fresh, elegant, intense wines of good structure. The swing between hot daytime temperatures and cooler nights help maintain the wonderful balance and natural freshness.

There are increased plantings of Bordeaux varieties alongside it, though cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec have been present in the blends of the renowned wines of the Vega Sicilia estate for more than 130 years. The geography of the valley is fairly flat and rocky, with alluvial sandy soils interspersed with limestone, chalk and clay/marl.
The success of Vega Sicilia and the wines of Alejandro Fernández in the 1980s led to an explosion of estate bottled wines where previously most growers had sent their grapes to the local cooperatives. The quality of the wines from these estates earned great acclaim in Spain and latterly around the world, and Ribera has earned itself a place at the top table of Spanish wine regions.
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Vega Sicilia

One of the most famous estates in Spain, Vega Sicilia produces one of the country’s most iconic wines, Unico. Founded in 1864 when Eloy Lacanda y Chaves planted vines he had brought from Bordeaux alongside a local variant of tempranillo called tinta del pais, the estate and its reputation for excellence predates the establishment of the Ribera del Duero D.O. in the 1980s by more than a century.

The estate has passed through a number of hands over its history but has been taken to new levels of consistency and quality since its purchase by current owners, the Alvarez family, in 1982. Three wines are made from the fruit of the estate - Vega Sicilia Unico, a tempranillo-cabernet sauvignon blend which is only produced in the best years; a rare multi-vintage Reserva Especial, and Valbuena, which is matured in American oak before release after five years. The Alvarez family also make Bodegas Alión from a nearby estate, as well as Pintia from their property in Toro to the west.

The total vineyard area of Vega Sicilia as it stands is 240 hectares distributed in 55 viticultural management plots, divided into 19 different soil types planted to five varieties. All vines are planted on hillsides some 800m above sea level and benefit from a northern exposition. The best are on chalkier soils on the middle to high slopes.

Grapes for Alión are grown on the lower, more gravelly soils. There has been a considerable investment in the fermentation facilities at Vega over the past few years. A...
One of the most famous estates in Spain, Vega Sicilia produces one of the country’s most iconic wines, Unico. Founded in 1864 when Eloy Lacanda y Chaves planted vines he had brought from Bordeaux alongside a local variant of tempranillo called tinta del pais, the estate and its reputation for excellence predates the establishment of the Ribera del Duero D.O. in the 1980s by more than a century.

The estate has passed through a number of hands over its history but has been taken to new levels of consistency and quality since its purchase by current owners, the Alvarez family, in 1982. Three wines are made from the fruit of the estate - Vega Sicilia Unico, a tempranillo-cabernet sauvignon blend which is only produced in the best years; a rare multi-vintage Reserva Especial, and Valbuena, which is matured in American oak before release after five years. The Alvarez family also make Bodegas Alión from a nearby estate, as well as Pintia from their property in Toro to the west.

The total vineyard area of Vega Sicilia as it stands is 240 hectares distributed in 55 viticultural management plots, divided into 19 different soil types planted to five varieties. All vines are planted on hillsides some 800m above sea level and benefit from a northern exposition. The best are on chalkier soils on the middle to high slopes.

Grapes for Alión are grown on the lower, more gravelly soils. There has been a considerable investment in the fermentation facilities at Vega over the past few years. A new facility was completed in 2010. This allows for each variety from each plot to be fermented separately and has meant expanding from 23 to 81 vats, allowing much more selective vinification and more careful, precise blending. The new facility will allow Vega to make Unico even in the more difficult vintages.

All the parcels for Unico are currently fermented in 80hl Radoux oak fermenters whilst Valbuena and Alión are fermented in stainless steel. In addition to the 240 ha of vines, Vega Sicilia owns a further 760 ha dedicated to self-sufficiency in oak for barrels and corks, and work with 40 different coopers when choosing oak for elevage and use a mixture of French, American, Hungarian and Russian oak.

A by-product of this land use is better biodiversity in the environment locally. Under winemaker Javier Ausás there has also been huge geological study to identify the soil types in the vineyards with the aim of improving their understanding of the terroirs and how to best blend them as intelligently as possible.
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Spain Vintage 2011

A vintage of concentrated fruit after a lengthy spell of hot weather through the summer in both Rioja and Ribera del Duero led to a drought that lasted well into the following winter. The harvest was generally earlier than usual throughout the country, with raisining, even before full ripeness had occurred, happening in some parts. Where the Atlantic could exert its influence in the north-west (Rías Baixas, Mencia etc) there was excellent quality. In Rioja and Ribera del Duero it is an uneven vintage, though, as ever, the best producers will have bucked the difficulties and made wines with good concentration and balance. In Priorato, in Catalunya, it was also a torrid year and wines are concentrated, sometimes dense and lower in acidity than in cooler years and it is necessary to follow the best producers, as we do, to find balance and ageability.
2011 vintage reviews

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