The 2008 Valbuena is produced with Tempranillo and 7% Merlot and Malbec from a cold, rainy season and late harvest. It reminds me of the Riberas of yesteryear, sharper with a slight rusticity, long and sharp. Once fermented, the wine matured for seven months in 20,000-liter oak vats, 12 months in new barriques (equal parts French and American oak), three months in used barrels and then six months in the vats again before being bottled in May 2011. The aromas are subtle, there is fruit, but there is soil and above all there is harmony. The palate is long rather than round, with some blood orange notes, sharp and austere, a serious wine that should age very well. The average production of Valbuena is around 180,000 bottles and 2008 was no exception. Drink now-2022.Â
I tasted the latest three vintages of Valbuena, to get up to speed with whatâ€™s in the market. If thereâ€™s a wine in their collection that has seen a huge improvement since 1998, it is Valbuena, which had been kind of neglected since the launch of Alion in the early 1990s. For Valbuena, they do not want a second wine in the Bordeaux style. But with the competitive Alion breathing down its neck and the pressure of its big brother, it felt a bit out of place. So they decided to look back at the vineyards: they studied the soils and saw why Unico and Valbuena had been (empirically) produced from separated plots.
This supple red shows a solid balance of fresh fruit and maturing flavors of tobacco and leather, featuring well-integrated tannins, with lively acidity and a finish of vanilla and spice. Not showy, but harmonious. Drink now through 2018. â€“TM