96pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
2017 was marked by the frost of the night between April 27 and 28 that Vega Sicilia fought with their anti-frost towers. The end of the season was warm, and the overall rain was low, 235 liters. The 2017 Valbuena is marked by these circumstances, produced with 94% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 6% Merlot, with good ripeness (14.5% alcohol) and mellow acidity (4.65 grams of tartaric acid and a pH of 3.85). The grapes were cooled down and took three to four days of maceration to start fermenting with indigenous yeasts. The wine matured in a combination of new and used French and American 225-liter oak barrels and 21,000-liter oak vats for almost three years. The result, for whatever reason, was nothing short of spectacular. The wine is perfumed, floral, expressive and balsamic like few vintages before. It doesn't feel like a 2017 at all; it is harmonious, and the tannins were fine. It's an amazing Valbuena that clearly transcends the character of the vintage. What I see here is that since 2010, the wine has a very high consistency. And in 2017 it excels.
96pts James Suckling
This shows wonderful aromas of blackberries, violets and sandalwood with vanilla undertones. Full-bodied with racy tannins and gorgeous fruit. Linear and very long. Slightly chewy. Needs time to come together, but already excellent quality. Drink after 2023.
Proof that in a tough year (memorable frosts and summer heat) top producers can be relied on to produce fine wines. The 2017 jumps out of the glass with cherry and redcurrant conserve, and flowers. It enters fresh, with succulent cranberry fruit. Finally finishing with dark fruits embedded in mocha and spicy fenugreek. Complete. Following the Vega Sicilia pattern, it spent its first year in barriques (20% American, 40% French). And then a second year in the impressive army of 80-220hl tinas (wooden vats).
93pts Wine Spectator
A savory thread of fragrant wild herb, cedar and leather winds through a creamy range of damson plum, dried fig, olive tapenade and smoke in this supple, layered red, which is rich and concentrated, but harmonious overall, integrating a frame of dense tannins and orange peel acidity. Ends with a lingering, spiced finish.
Valbuena 5º 2017 is more mature, juicy, and voluptuous expression, with the focus always on harmony.
Blend: 94% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 6% Merlot