| Wine Spectator 92 points (Oct 15 2014)
Tobacco, cedar and sanguine notes mingle with dried cherry, spice and orange peel flavors in this firm red. The floral finish blooms pleasantly, showing harmony and depth. A traditional style. Drink now through 2024. 15,000 cases made.
Wine Advocate 94 points (Aug 2014)
The 2009 Valbuena was harvested early, the result of a warm summer. It’s mostly Tempranillo complemented with 5% Merlot. The wine matured for five months in 20,000-liter oak vats, 16 months in new barriques (equal parts French and American oak), four months in used barrels and then four more months in the vats before being bottled in May 2011. 180,000 bottles produced. It has some reductive notes and would benefit from some time in a decanter, where you’d start appreciating its background of cherries which feels very classical and serious. The palate is well-built, with polished tannins, very good acidity and freshness with elegance and fine tannins. Mature and with good typicity. Drink 2014-2020.
Vinous 94 points (Sep 2014)
(virtually all tempranillo, with a bit of merlot; fermented in large oak tanks and raised in a 50/50 blend of French and American oak, followed by brief sojourns in used oak barrels and vats before bottling): Opaque ruby. Spice- and mineral-accented aromas of dark berries, cherry pit and potpourri, with a toasty topnote. Minerally, incisive and sweet on the palate, offering smoky cherry and blackcurrant flavors complicated by vanilla, mocha and licorice. Shows impressive power and vivacity on the youthfully tannic finish, with the smoke and spice notes strongly repeating.