2011 Único, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

2011 Único, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

Product: 20118004745
2011 Único, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

Description

The youthful, red brick colour of the 2011 Único immediately suggests that this is still a mere infant, even with ten years of age. Aromas of strawberries, autumnal leaves and fresh saddle leather mingle with darker notes of bramble fruit and a hint of blackcurrants, sweet spice and dried camomile flowers. The palate is lean and tight; there is generosity evident with more maturing notes of sweeter strawberries, leather and cured meat in the background but these will need to be allowed time really to shine through. The tannins are incredibly fine, pin-prick and almost imperceptible at first, however the lightest of grips on the palate increases with tasting and the tannins are very clearly present on the finish. To me, this is a very subtle but incredibly beautiful Único which is about lightness of touch and a perfect representation of its terroir over anything else. It feels almost like the light itself, with pure energy and such delicate characteristics they almost evade ones grasp at this stage. However, it is that wonderful, understated yet intense, deep core of flavour on the literally endless finish that makes it truly spectacular. Drink 2025-2055.
Catriona Felstead MW, Senior Buyer,(January 2021)

Bright, lush blackberry compote, blueberry notes with a background hint of granite / underbrush / garrigue. A certainly more perfumed nose than past vintages, complex and intriguing.  Medium to full-bodied palate with a rich swather of fruits of the forest variety. Ripe and yet compact tannins lead to a long smooth finish with an almost granular material on the back palate.  A delicious and yet brooding Único that will evolve beautifully and will reward one with patience. A true balance of beauty and a bestial nature lurking in the shadows.
Stuart Rae, Fine Wine Commercial Manager, (January 2021)
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About this WINE

Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia, Spain's “first growth” and most prestigious wine estate, is located in Ribera del DueroIt was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of local grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec) and planted them, together with Spain’s signature grape Tinto Fino (aka 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 at home and overseas. The estate changed hands several more times before its acquisition by the current owners, the Álvarez family, in 1982.

The estate’s success is founded on its meticulous approach. In the vineyard it applies low yields, aided by green harvesting and painstaking selection at harvest. In the winery, wines are aged in any number of receptacles – using French and American, new and old oak, small barrels or huge vats – to engender further complexity. Despite prolonged barrel ageing, the fruit is never dried out or overly oaky – compelling evidence of the superb quality of its raw materials.

The Vega Sicilia range includes three cuvées: Único (literally translating as “unique”) is the flagship, followed by Único Reserva Especial (a multi-vintage blend) and their “entry-level” offering Valbuena 5° (an expression of Tinto Fino aged for five years, hence the “5°”). The top two wines are a blend of Tinto Fino with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot, depending on the vintage. They are both aged for approximately 10 years prior to release, normally spending six of those in barrel and three in bottle.

This illustrious property laid the founding stone for Ribera del Duero, which is now acknowledged to be one of the best wine regions in Spain.

Vega Sicilia has now built up a portfolio which includes Bodegas Alion (providing a more modern expression of Ribera del Duero),  Bodegas Pintia (in the emerging region  Toro), Macán (a partnership with Benjamin de Rothschild) and the Hungarian Tokaji estate, Oremus.

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Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero

In the last 30 years, Ribera del Duero has risen up to challenge Rioja for the crown of Spain's greatest wine region. Once known only as the home of Vega Sicilia it now boasts numerous bodegas of outstanding quality, from Hacienda Monasterio to Cillar de Silos. The region was granted its DO status in 1982, and today has over 200 wineries and more than 20,000 hectares of vines.

In the last 30 years, Ribera del Duero has emerged from almost nowhere to challenge Rioja for the crown of Spain's greatest wine region. Once known only as the home of Vega Sicilia it now boasts numerous bodegas of outstanding quality like Cillar de Silos, Alión and Hacienda Monasterio. Ribera del Duero was granted its DO status in 1982, at a time when only nine bodegas were operating there, yet today it has over 200 wineries and more than 20,000 hectares of vines. Most of Ribera del Duero's production is red, with only a modest quantity of rosado produced. No white wines are allowed under the DO.

Ribera del Duero owes its success to a combination of factors: firstly, its terroir of schistous sub-soil bears remarkable similarity to other famous winemaking regions such as the Douro and Priorat. Secondly, its microclimate, with its high altitude, hot days and cool nights (a phenomenon known as “diurnal variation”), ensures ripeness while preserving the vivacity of the fruit, aromatic flavours and refreshing acidity.

Thirdly, it has been blessed with an exceptional native grape, Tempranillo (also known as Tinto del País or Tinto Fino). This yields superb, complex red wines that are delicious when young but which also have the capacity to age into magnificent Gran Reservas. Finally, the immense influence of its winemakers has been key – historically, of course, Vega Sicilia, but more recently Peter Sisseck (Hacienda Monasterio) and the indefatigable Aragón family of Cillar de Silos.

The same DO rules govern Ribera's barrel-aged styles as for Rioja: Crianzas are aged for two years before release with at least a year in oak barrels; Reservas must be three years old with at least a year spent in oak; and, finally, Gran Reservas must be five years old before going on sale, with two years spent in barrel. The young (joven) unoaked red wines, called Roble, tend to boast a moreish, vibrant, bramble fruit while the best oak-aged styles of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva show intense, generous fruit, overlaid with notes of vanilla and sweet spice, and wrapped up in polished, elegant tannins.

Recommended producers: Vega Sicilia (including Alión), Cillar de Silos, Hacienda Monasterio

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Tempranillo/Tinto Fino

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino

A high quality red wine grape that is grown all over Spain except in the hot South - it is known as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Cencibel in La Mancha and Valdepenas and Ull de Llebre in Catalonia. Its spiritual home is in Rioja and Navarra where it constitutes around 70% of most red blends.

Tempranillo-based wines tend to have a spicy, herbal, tobacco-like character accompanied by ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits. It produces fresh, vibrantly fruit driven "jovenes" meant for drinking young. However Tempranillo really comes into its own when oak aged, as with the top Riojas  where its flavours seem to harmonise perfectly with both French and American oak, producing rich, powerful and concentrated wines which can be extraordinarily long-lived.

In Ribera del Duero it generally sees less oak - the exception being Vega Sicilia where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and then aged for an astonishing 7 years in oak and is unquestionably one of the world`s greatest wines.

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Critics reviews

Wine Advocate96/100
James Suckling98/100
Wine Advocate96/100
The Único released in 2021, 10 years after the harvest, is the 2011 Único, selected from 40 of their 210 hectares of vineyards. 2011 is a concentrated and ripe vintage, and they selected 95% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon that were cooled in a cold room for 24 hours before being sorted; the bunches and grapes macerated at 9 to 10 degrees Celsius for three to four days, and then it was inoculated with a pied de cuve to ferment with pumping overs. Malolactic was in stainless steel, and the wine was put through a long aging, 10 years between oak and bottle, using new and used French and American oak barrels and 20,000-liter oak vats. For Vega Sicilia, 2011 was a fresher year than 2010, not the common idea about those vintages in Ribera del Duero. The wine has a developed nose with some notes of ripe black fruit, meat and underbrush, somewhat herbal and perfumed. There is something about the nose of the Únicos that I cannot quite describe but is quite distinct, and it's in this vintage and also in the Reserva Especial. 88,288 bottles, 3,505 magnums, 318 double magnums, 60 Imperial and 3 Salmanazar were produced. The wine was bottled in June 2017.
Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate, (December 2020) Read more
James Suckling98/100
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.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, (December 2020) Read more