Few wines have a history as distinguished as that of Vega Sicilia. Founded in the 1860’s, its top cuvée, Unico, was Spain’s first great wine and until recent decades the only Spanish wine collected and coveted throughout the world. Unico is still made as it was a half century or more ago: a selection of only the best vintages released after a decade or more of age. Made from at least 80% Tempranillo and small amounts of Bordeaux varietals, it is a wine of epic proportions, known for great restraint in its youth but an almost unlimited cellaring potential.
95 Points - The Wine Advocate
”The 2012 Valbuena was cropped from a vintage with a very dry and warm summer that resulted in very healthy grapes. Since the 2010 vintage, this wine is fermented plot by plot following the findings from a soils study they did. The élevage is in French and American oak barrels that on average lasts some 18 months followed by another 18 months in 20,000-liter oak vats, but of course some lots had more time in barrique and others more time in vat. It has ripe tannins and a powerful mouthfeel but with a soft texture. Even if it's not widely mentioned, it always has had some French grapes, mainly Merlot, but this 2012 is the first Valbuena ever to be really 100% Tempranillo—because the Merlot didn't behave well in this warm and dry year. It follows the path opened by the 2010, more precise and elegant, rounded by that extra time in larger vats to finish polishing the tannins. I find this 2012 halfway between 2010 and 2011. It has depth and elegance, more serious than Alión, which is always the (maybe unfair) comparison.” Luis Gutiérrez
94 Points - The Wine Advocate
”The 2011 Valbuena was fermented plot by plot, something they started after a deep soil study in the 2010 vintage. 2011 was a very warm and ripe vintage in the zone, and the challenge was to keep the freshness. There are more black fruit aromas, subtle spices and hints of complexity, as well as tertiary aromas that are quite classic and turn more balsamic with time in the glass. Again, this is very different form the 2012 Alión, rounder, riper, richer, more polished, mellow, soft, quite exuberant and hedonistic.” Luis Gutiérrez
”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.” Luis Gutiérrez
The 2008 Valbuena is produced with Tempranillo and 7% Merlot and Malbec from a cold, rainy season and late harvest. It reminds me of the Riberas of yesteryear, sharper with a slight rusticity, long and sharp. Once fermented, the wine matured for seven months in 20,000-liter oak vats, 12 months in new barriques (equal parts French and American oak), three months in used barrels and then six months in the vats again before being bottled in May 2011. The aromas are subtle, there is fruit, but there is soil and above all there is harmony. The palate is long rather than round, with some blood orange notes, sharp and austere, a serious wine that should age very well. The average production of Valbuena is around 180,000 bottles and 2008 was no exception.” Luis Gutiérrez
"The 2006 Valbuena is a blend of 80% Tempranillo with 20% Merlot and Malbec. It has great volume and intensity on the nose, yet it is never overbearing. Fragrant aromas of maraschino, dark plum and orange peel are extremely pure and upon further examination, there is an attractive seam of minerality. The palate is medium-bodied with a supple, citrus-fresh entry. Crisp delineation, edgy dark cherry and cassis flavors intermingled with sour lemon that leads to a very assertive, angular finish. It will require two or three years to smooth out the edges but it will be fascinating to plot its evolution.” Luis Gutiérrez
Onshore Cellars - ICONIC Producer
Known as a mythical winery, and regarded as Spain’s one and only ‘first growth’, Vega Sicilia is Spain’s most prestigious wine estate located in Ribera del Duero. Founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda who came from Bordeaux armed with cuttings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec and planted them with Spain’s signature grape, Tempranillo.
The winery changed hands several times beforethe current owners, the Alvarez family, took over in 1982. Over the years, Vega Sicilia has built an international and formidable reputation for itself.
Vega Sicilia has founded its success on meticulous wine producing practices. The winery’s philosophy incorporates low yields, painstaking grape selection and prolonged barrel ageing (1970 Unico has over 16 years). The resulting wines are delicate and complex, with great personality and which have a capacity for ageing which can only be matched by some of the greats from Bordeaux.