2013 Único, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

2013 Único, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

Product: 20138004745
Prices start from £340.00 per bottle (75cl). Buying options
2013 Único, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

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The 2013 has an absolutely wonderful nose with fine red and blackberry fruit, lifted cedar spice, and a fine top note of orange peel. The aromas burst out of the glass, making the wine feel concentrated and ripe, yet all is elegant and balanced, with lightness and concentration combined. This is a Unico making a clear aromatic statement against the preconceptions of the vintage.

The palate is equally astonishing. There is something so ethereal about Unico, and 2013 as a cool vintage really complements that character. This wine is always such a juxtaposition of everything. All that gentle, ripe red and black fruit somehow envelops the palate whilst not being either heavy or rich or texturally mouthcoating; it is almost like drinking in a fragrance. Similarly, the powder puff tannins are barely perceptible, yet they are in droves.

The wine is incredibly pure and fresh with a long bouquet that doesn’t just linger normally but magnifies on the endless finish. Winemaker Gonzalo Iturriaga de Juan refers to having tasted the 1939 and 1942 vintages recently and comments on how consistently and reliably these wines age due to their incredible terroir. As he says, “This is the magic of Unico”.

Drink 2026 to 2050

Catriona Felstead MW, Senior Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (January 2023)

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Critics reviews

Wine Advocate97/100

I had already tasted the 2013 Único from magnum in a vertical tasting of all the magnums ever produced and was quite impressed by it (and the still unreleased 2014 that should be available in 2024). 2013 saw a rainy harvest, and the wine is subtle, elegant and fresh, complex, silky and with precision. The wine matured in 225-liter barrels in an initial phase and then in 22,000-liter oak vats until it was bottled in June 2019. This year, the final blend was 97% Tinto Fino and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon with a little less alcohol, 14%, and a pH of 3.78 and 5.2 grams of acidity, fresh and balanced, more elegant and subtler. Único often transcends the character of the vintage and doesn't follow the norm in the region, and the 2013 is a good example of that. It was a very rainy and complicated vintage; they harvested quite quickly to avoid botrytis, and while other people waited for concentration, they did not, and their approach clearly paid back. It's aromatic and floral, less dense than the 2012, subtler, more expressive and more elegant. It's clean and fresh, tasty, with very fine tannins. It's a big surprise for the vintage and one of the finest Únicos in the last few years.

Drink 2023 - 2035

Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate (January 2023)

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Jancis Robinson MW18++/20

97% Tinto Fino, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Cool, wet spring followed by normal summer but rain during the extended harvest (27 September to 17 October) – ‘major efforts in the vineyard ensured the grapes were in perfect health and ripeness when they entered the winery’. Yield 25.2 hl/ha. Bottled June 2019: 76,476 bottles, 3,658 magnums, 362 double magnums, 59 Impériales and 6 Salmanazars. From magnum.

Dark crimson. Intense medicinal nose. Very sharp and intense and hard work in terms of acid and tannin but very promising. Essence of Vega Sicilia.

Drink 2026 - 2050

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (September 2022)

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Look out for this on release, with its typical aromatics of red berries, violets and balsamic. It’s young, no doubt, entering with redcurrant fruit and underneath a bold line of tannin. It reflects the complicated vintage, but will come through in time. 

Cool rainy spring, normal summer with ‘the odd storm’, before a rainy end to the harvest. Yield 25.2hl/ha. Aged one year in new barrels, six months in used barrels, then 42 months in large-format vats. 76,476 bottles, 3,658 magnums, 362 double magnums, 59 Imperials and six Salmanazars. Tasted from magnum.

Drink 2028 - 2050

Sarah Jane Evans MW, Decanter.com (September 2022)

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Tim Atkin MW97/100

This vintage of Único may not make very old bones, but it's a delight to drink now and will continue to evolve for at least another decade. Reflecting the cooler, wetter growing season in 2013, it's a graceful, perfumed, balsamic Tinto Fino with earth and tobacco leaf aromas, sweet, almost gamey fruit and a leafy undertone from 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Drink 2023 - 2035

Tim Atkin MW, TimAtkin.com (January 2023)

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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 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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