0800 280 2440
Vega Sicilia, Spain's "first growth"; and most prestigious wine estate, is located in Ribera del Duero, beside a highway east of Valladolid. The estate covers around 1000 hectares, of which 230 - 250 are under vines. It was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of local grapes (Cab. Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec) and planted them, together with Spain's signature grape Tinto Fino (clone of Tempranillo) in the arid Ribera soils. The winery begun building its formidable reputation after 1903 under the ownership of Antonio Herrero, winning a number of awards, and enjoying an international distribution. The estate changed hands several more times before its acquisition by the current owners, the Alvarez family, in 1982. Vega Sicilia has founded its success on its meticulous wine-producing practices: In the vineyard it applies low yields, aided by green harvesting, and a painstaking grape selection. In the winery, wines undertake a complicated series of rackings from huge barrels to new and old oak. Despite the very prolonged barrel ageing, e.g. the 1970 Unico has over 16 years, the wine flavours are never dried out or overly oaky when mature, which is compelling evidence of the superb quality of its raw materials. The Vega Sicilia range includes 3 cuvees: Unico (";unique";) is the flagship, followed by Reserva Especial a blend of top vintages, both made up of Tinto Fino ( 80%), Cab. Sauv and little Merlot, and traditionally of 10 years ageing. Nowadays the wine maker, Javier Ausas ages the Unica wines for only 5-6 years, before bottling. Valbuena is made from younger vines, and in years when Unico is not produced grapes normally destined for Unico will go into Valbuena. It is only released after 5 years' ageing. Spain's "Chateau Latour" has illustrious history, a sense of place, immense respect for tradition and immaculate winemaking. It has laid the foundation for what has become one of the best wine-making regions in Spain, Ribera del Duero. The nearby Bodegas Alion estate is the innovative addition to Vega's portfolio. It produces a high quality wine for drinking young. Vega Sicilia also owns the Hungarian Tokay estate Oremus, as well the Toro Bodegas Pintia
Make a bid
A blend of 95% Tinto Fino and 5% Merlot, 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 (average vine age of 25 – 20 years), 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. The nose shows damsons and plums and is quite floral with violet undertones. The palate is bursting with flavours: forest fruit and red cherries are underpinned by vibrant acidity. The tannins are ripe and sinewy but have a firm grip. Complex and complete. The 2009 is probably the best vintage of Valbuena we have tasted to date. It shows precision and focus but also conveys the richness, concentration and freshness of this great vintage. Stuart Rae - Private Account Manager
Magnum 1 x 150cl
D. Magnum 1 x 300cl
Bottle 6 x 75cl
I enjoyed the enticing aromas that escaped the glass long before tasting the 2003 Unico. It seems almost criminal to open a bottle at this point as Unico needs at least two decades of ageing (a decade at Vega and a decade in the cellar). Dense, irresitable, with layers of herbs de provance, linear black fruit and a minty freshness. The lace-like finesse is surprising considering the heat of the vintage and the finish lasted 45+ seconds. Unico (meaning ‘Unique’) is the signature wine of the estate and only released in outstanding vintages. Produced in 2003 with 92% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon the wine is matured for 25 months in old wooden vats, followed by 17 months in new barrels, 10 months in semi-new barrels and 22 months in large wooden vats. For the remainder of the time it is aged in bottle and nearly released 10 years after the vintage. Its fine silky structure caresses the palate, while continuing to give a nuanced array of delicate flavours; fragrant roses, black earthy notes, soft blackberries, white pepper are all framed by a gentle freshness. Vega Sicilia, Spain’s ‘first growth’ and most prestigious wine estate, was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of local grapes and planted them, together with Spain’s signature grape Tinto Fino (Tempranillo). Vega Sicilia has founded its success on its meticulous wine-producing practices; in the vineyard it applies low yields, aided by green harvesting and a painstaking grape selection.
Bottle 3 x 75cl
Recalling the historical significance of this great Estate, Reserva Especial is bottled each year as a blend of three earlier vintages, historically a security measure against the potential failure an individual year, but nowadays more significant as a showcase of unparalleled excellence. The years in question for the 2015 release are 1994, 1996 and 2000, blended shortly after the birth of the youngest shareholder and aged in wood thereafter. The key to the wine is that it is unselfconsciously old-fashioned with early gamey notes and dried fruits to the fore, its complexities spicy and profound, its chiaroscuro colouring recalling Murillo or Zurbaran, gently persuasive an lingering long in the memory. The annual release is somewhere around 100 cases, at an ambitious estimate. Simon Field MW - Wine Buyer
Case price (3)
Case saving £117.42
Vega Sicilia's Reserva Especial has no vintage and is representative of the more traditional concept of Spanish winemaking. The winery seeks to continue a very old Spanish custom and bring together a collection of different vintages in perfect harmony. Traditionally in Spain, the few wineries that bottled their wines (most sold their wines from the cask) made two types of wine with each harvest: that of the current year, and another wine without a specific harvest, which was called “Reserva Especial”. It was a blend of wines from the best harvests, which came to be the most representative wine of the winery. The vagaries of a certain vintage can be blended away leaving a wine that is, in some opinions, better than any of the single vintage wines. It is made from their oldest vines, often 100 years old and blends three vintages (in the case of the 2014 release – 1994, 1995 & 2000), designed to be more than the sum of their parts and selected for the individual characteristics to achieve balance. Stuart Rae- Private Account Manager
Case price (3)
Case saving £95.82
Exotic aromas of red and dark fruits, iron, dried flowers, cured meat and tobacco are strongly reminiscent of a top vintage of Chateau Haut-Brion. Luscious cherry and cassis flavors display a superb balance of depth and structure, offering noteworthy power but a weightless quality that is simply uncanny. Candied flowers, smoky minerals and vanilla bean add complexity and extend through an endless finish. I'd love to sneak this into a tasting of 1998 Saint-Emilion and Graves wines in ten years or so. 96/100 Josh Raynolds, July 2008
Case price (3)
Case saving £102.42
From the highly-rated 1990 vintage, time has now endowed this wine with mature notes of coffee, red fruit cake, dried figs and plums. Mouthfilling, meety textured, and lusciously spiced with aniseed, cloves and toasty cedar. Drink now through 2014
Case price (3)
Case saving £172.02
Opaque crimson suggests a brooding powerhouse of a wine and the 2002 Unico delivers with gusto! Remarkable perfume: lifted, pure and fresh cherry fruit, with a host of flavours: clove, liquorice, tea, truffle and sousbois. The palate is wonderfully dense, with tingling acidity perfectly cutting the huge flavours, leading into a seemingly endless finish. Sheer class. Fine Wine Team
Four to six days of cold maceration is used to retain freshness, before 12-15 months of maturation in oak from France (giving cool cedar aromas and structure) and America (giving vanilla and coconut flavours). With a rich nose of sweet blackcurrant and cherry fruit, lined with perfumed menthol and spice, the wine has a dense, powerful palate, with the same concentrated fruit but a superb savoury element and hints of tar, all swept along into an excellently fresh, fruit-filled finish. Simon Field MW - Wine Buyer
Valbuena 2010 has been aged for 31 months in a combination of cask and barrel, the latter of which are both French and American in provenance. Further bottle age before release has ensured that a latent harmony has been amplified, nurtured by Javier Ausás, whose winemaking is deferential above all to the what goes on in the vineyards, now minutely divided into parcels, all of which are vinified separately. Nuance is all and power defers to elegance. The near opaque core cedes to a lively iridescent rim and a generous open nose which marries Asian spice and dark dark fruit….the palate is more reserved than one would have thought, with dignified floral notes and very finely poised tannins underlining a near-Burgundian purity that is born of day-night temperature variations during the growing season and a clearly Burgundian sensibility in the winery. Simon Field MW - Spain Buyer
2007 Unico has been released before the sturdier 2005 and has self-evidently not enjoyed the ten years of ageing traditionally associated with this famous wine. 64 months of wood ageing, divided almost equally between barrel and foudre, has, however, given this classic blend ( 95% Tempranillo and 5% Merlot) plenty of time to gather its thoughts and to demonstrate its inherent class. A more feminine Unico than some, perhaps, but also more precise and poised and , to my palate at least, purer and more approachable in relative youth than some of its forebears. Ageing potential has not been entirely forsaken, however, as the sturdy tannins at the back and lingering savoury notes both serve to emphasise. A Unico for all seasons in other words, underlining once again the significance of the work done in the vineyards under the Alvarez regime and the unrivalled gifts of Javier Ausás as a winemaker. Simon Field MW - Spain buyer Lovely perfume of blackcurrant, blueberry and damson entices you back for one sniff after the other, each one giving up a lovely open knit berry scent. The palate is medium bodied, savoury notes of earth, espresso abound – properly old world in style with an exuberance of fruit and yet held down with a beautifully poised structure of taught tannin and good acidity. The Unico 2007 is again example of why this estate produces some of the best wines in Spain if not in the world. The 2007 vintage displays a wine that will be eminently drinkable from 3 – 5 years and yet will age gracefully into 2025 +. Stuart Rae - Private Account Manager
Valbuena is unique, both in its make-up of grape varietes and in the maturation regime of the wines, which in itself will differ every vintage. Made from 90 % Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) 5% Malbec, 5% Merlot, the 2003 was bottled in the Spring of 2006. The nose marries the influences of these vessels, affording appropriate layers of complexity; plums, dried figs, smoke, blackberries and herbs are all evidenced. The palate is rich, broad, relatively unformed and betraying some of the opulent warmth of the year. Long with balsamic and mineral notes, the wine will merit keeping for ten years at least. (Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer)
Bottle 12 x 75cl
"2003 Alion is even better than the 2002. It has a similar personality but with more depth and concentration as well as structure. The ripe tannins suggest much more will be revealed with another 6-8 years in the bottle. It will drink well for 15 years" 96/100 points Wine Advocate (Feb 07) "Alion is a Bordeaux-styled wine, that allows us to show that a Vega Sicilia wine can be made in a more modern style" Javier Ausas- Alion Chief Winemaker
Vega Sicilia, founded in 1864, is Spains most prestigious wine estate. Its wines are renowned for their complexity, intensity and longevity and are amongst the finest in the world. This is one of their top cuves.Opulent on the nose with full aromas of wild red fruits blended with oak. On the palate it's rich and powerful with a black fruit character, the finish is amazingly persistent with ripe grape and velvety oak tannins.
The non-vintage Unico Reserva Especial, is a blend of three Unico vintages (90, 94, 96). Still purple in colour, it has a fabulous nose of toasted bread, smoked ham, cigar box, creme de cassis, cherry liqueur and toffee. Multi-layered, voluptuous, with soft edges and mouth-filling palate, it will last for another 20-35 years. Stunningly perfumed and majestic it truly belongs to the top wines in the world. This is a signature wine for Vega Sicilia!
Not much to say for Vega Sicilia Unico 1999, except that it's pure perfection. Complex nose and palate of oak, rosemary, eucalyptus, liquorice and tobacco. A powerful structure with a elegant centre. Long lingering finish that just makes you want to go back for more. Right up there with the legendary '96 and '90. (Ben Upjohn, Fine Wine Sales Advisor)
Valbuena is Vega Sicilia’s second wine, produced from younger vines and aged for a shorter period than Unico. As a result it is more obvious fruit focussed and approachable earlier. The 2008 is produced with 93% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) with the remaining 7% a blend of Merlot and Malbec. It is released 5 years after vintage and has spent 7 months in large wooden vats, followed by 15 months in new barrels (50% French and 50% American oak), 3 months in semi-new barrels and another 6 months in large wooden vats. Vanilla and brambly fruit on the nose is framed on the palate with silky tannins and a streak of acidity that adds freshness. Very fine. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer Vega Sicilia, Spain’s ‘first growth’ and most prestigious wine estate, was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of local grapes and planted them, together with Spain’s signature grape Tinto Fino (Tempranillo). Vega Sicilia has founded its success on its meticulous wine-producing practices; in the vineyard it applies low yields, aided by green harvesting and a painstaking grape selection.
With Reserva Especial, Vega Sicilia gives a nod to the past as it is based on a long standing Spanish tradition of blending vintages to make a house style. The 2013 release of Reserva Especial is a blend of three vintages (1994, 1999 and 2000). As a blend of three outstanding Unicos, the Reserva Especial is the archetypical Vega Sicilia. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer Vega Sicilia, Spain’s ‘first growth’ and most prestigious wine estate, was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of local grapes and planted them, together with Spain’s signature grape Tinto Fino (Tempranillo). Vega Sicilia has founded its success on its meticulous wine-producing practices; in the vineyard it applies low yields, aided by green harvesting and a painstaking grape selection.
This is the essence of Vega Sicilia. Selected barrels from a trinity of great vintages are kept back and when the time is right, blended to make the archetypal Vega Sicilia – the Reserva Especial (this release is a blend of the 1991, 1994 and 1999, with an average blend of 85% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, with a touch of Merlot). This epitomises the estate, drawing the best of the Unico releases together, to make a “super-Unico. An incredible wine.
Winemaker Javier Ausas likens the 2004 to the legendary 1970 and it’s easy to see why. The nose is very perfumed, elegant and pure with heady florals, raspberry and mulberry fruit and well-integrated sweet spice of oak. In the mouth the wine displays flavours of liquorice, strawberry and black cherry chocolate accompanied by exquisite textural, velvety tannins and ends on an almost ethereal finish of wild herbs (thyme and heather) that just goes on and on. This is a wine for the long run, it’s still tight and very young and has the structure to go the long mile. Simon Field MW - Wine Buyer