Robert Parker 96
The 2018 Valbuena comes from a cooler vintage with good yields that required sorting and selecting in search of a happy and vertical version of Valbuena, pushing a little more and giving the wine a little more oak, especially American (5%). It was produced with 96% Tinto Fino and 4% Merlot that went through a three- to four-day cold soak and fermented with indigenous yeasts followed by malolactic in stainless steel. The elevage was in new and used 225-liter oak barrels and 21,000-liter oak vats. It has 14.5% alcohol and a pH of 3.8 and 4.78 grams of acidity (tartaric), so it’s ripe and with mellow acidity that gives it a mellow mouthfeel. This is a very spicy vintage for Valbuena, getting closer to the style of Unico (while at the same time I felt the 2018 Pintia from Toro was getting closer to the aromatics of some vintages of Valbuena, like 2010). It was a late-ripening year with a tendency toward freshness in the wines. The palate is medium to full-bodied, with very fine tannins that made the wine nicely textured and very elegant. There is a lot of regularity in the Valbuena of the last few years, here with more tension and freshness of the 2017, a little more balsamic even. Drink 2023 – 2032.
Anticipated maturity: 2023-2032