Vega Sicilia’s Gran Reserva Unico needs little introduction, it is easily one of the most acclaimed and sought-after wines in all of Spain, each and every vintage. Today we are very pleased to be able to offer the superb 2011 vintage, which we have every reason to believe will fly out the door due to the unprecedented and extended period of anticipation and reduced volumes which have been released to market. Releasing a full decade after the harvest, Luis Gutierrez of The Wine Advocate is suitably impressed, awarding this vintage 96 Points, he admires the wine for its impressive freshness when compared to the blockbuster 2010 vintage, and as well as a commendable 98 points from James Suckling who praises it as “Very ripe with plum, spice and dried-flower aromas, as well as chocolate, fresh flowers and sandalwood. Coffee and hints of meat. Sort of decadent. Full-bodied with round, creamy tannins and an intense, juicy feel. Unique cedar and walnut undertones. So delicious now, but one for the future, too.” With 10 years of age prior to release, Unico is approachable;one of its irresistible qualities. Today we are thrilled to be able to offer it at the release price of £711 IB per 3 bottles.
While 2011 is an unquestionably intense and complete vintage, it is largely defined by its elegant and silk precision. Part of Unico’s great renown is attributed to Michael Broadbent MW who declared it “The Lafite of Spain,”. The Estate only produces an average of 6,000 cases of Unico a year, as compared to the 15-25,000 cases produced by its Bordeaux equivalent, goes a long way to explain the steep increase in price after just a decade. Uncios market price has shown to be resistant to fluctuations in scores from the Wine Advocate, as demonstrated in the table below:
While Unico may be considered the truely iconic wine in the envied Vega Sicilia portfolio, the Valbeuna remains one of their globally beloved wines thanks to the fantastic value it continues to offer its loyal followers. Today, we are able to offer the Valbuena 5° 2016, which once again exemplifies another stellar vintage in Spain and one with effortlessly strikes the perfect balance between elegance, complexity and concentration. Suckling has already awarded the 2016 vintage a stellar score of 96 Points, admiring the, “Gorgeous aromas of blackberries, black chocolate and shitake mushrooms follow through to a full body with round, plush tannins that are corduroy in texture.” That combined with a superb 97 points from Tim Atkin, who considers it, “one of the best Valbuenas” he has ever tasted. This solidifies the 2015 vintage as an absolutely essential purchase, available today at the price of £282 IB per 3 bottles.
Vega Sicilia is the most significant wine producer in Spain, considered amongst the greatest in the world. Their property is found 700 metres above sea level in the shallow Spanish part of the Duero River valley on the high remote plateau of Castilla y Leon. This unique climate delivers cold nights and hot days, which consistently allows the grapes to achieve their optimum ripeness while also developing a seemingly everlasting backbone of tannic structure, thanks to the refreshing core of acidity which balances this remarkably concentrated wine.
The 2011 Unico blend combines 95% of Tinto Fino or Tempranillo with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, which have been painstakingly selected from just 40 of the estates 210 hectares of vineyards before being aged for 10 years in a combination of used French and American oak barrels and 20,000-litre oak vats. The winery was founded in 1864 by Don Lecanda y Chaves, who planted Bordeaux grape varieties, which are still used today and since 1982 the winery has been owned by the Alvarez family. The vineyards express the local terroir in its most sublime form, with many vines more than 100 years old and amazingly their signature wines, Reserva Especial and Unico are harvested at less than one ton per acre.
The Valbuena 5° takes its name from the village where it is produced. It is aged for less time than the Unico or the Reserva Especial with the 5° designating the years it has been aged before release. The wine is made from younger vines, although their aggregate age would compete with most other leading wines. It has a similar blend to its older brother Unico and the Valbuena 5° is best thought of as a younger sibling. It retains the cherry colour, and special, subtle oxidative evolution boasting espresso, bay leaf, refined tannins, cedar, mocha and incredible charm. It is released younger because it can be enjoyed sooner, spending three years aging in barrel and two years in bottle. It is aged in new barrels, 75% French oak, imparting vanilla, toast and brioche, as well as 25% in American oak, adding coconut and spice. Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) forms the backbone of Vega Sicilia’s wines, a grape with great resilience to oxidation. The 2016 Valbuena is made from 94% Tinto Fino and 4% Merlot, from just 140 hectares of vineyards planted just for this wine.