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February 03, 2016

Vega Sicilia ‘Unico’ 2008

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Vega Sicilia is Spain’s most famous wine and it competes with the greatest wines of France and Italy for pride of place in the Pantheon of the greatest wines in the world. Following on from the 2007 Vega Unico release, we are delighted to be able to offer the newest vintage, the excellent 2008. This was awarded 96 points from Luiz Gutierrez of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate late last year. Ribera del Duero in 2008 experienced cooler temperatures than normal, advantageous in this very hot region, to balance the ripening process and fashion elegant wines. The 2008 has been awarded 96 points, placing it among the best vintages in the last 30 years, only bettered by the extraordinary 2004 and 1998 going back to the 1970 vintage!

Vintage WA Price
2008 96 £460
2004 97 £480
1998 98 £760
1995 97 £760
1990 96 £800
1975 95 £1,050
1970 97 £1,800
1962 100 £2,250

* Price 3x75cl Cases

Vega Unico is truly one of those wines worth buying on release. The Estate produces a meagre 6,000 cases of Unico a year and the wine has a striking vintage premium. When the wine exceeds 15 years in bottle it is nearly impossible to buy and prices of leading vintages rise above £300 per bottle: the legendary 1970 vintage trades above £500 per bottle and the 1962, a candidate for one of the greatest wines ever made, costs upwards of £800 per bottle. It is worth noting also that Pingus, Ribera del Duero’s other truly great wine, trades above £500 per bottle on release. The 2008 has been released this year as the Estate feel it is at the very beginning of its drinking windows and it will improve in bottle for 20 years; Vega Sicilia only make Unicos that will drink beautifully up to 30 years after release.

The Unico blend combines Tempranillo with a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, thereby producing a true synthesis between Spain’s leading variety and the best of Bordeaux. 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 2008 Unico saw 14 months in large oak barrels followed by 24 months in new barriques, before being transferred to old barriques for 17 months and then eventually 22 months in large wooden vats; that is truly painstaking winemaking. The outcome is a wine that retains a fresh acidity that balances with the wines’ ample alcohol. The blend in 2008 is 95% Tempranillo (known as Tinto Fino locally) and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, reaching 14.5%.

The 2008 Unico is beautifully harmonious, combining Vega’s power with a delightful elegance. It is a Vega that can be enjoyed immediately, or aged for decades. Its 96 point score makes is collectible and worth buying on release!

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate, 96 Points
’2008 was a challenging vintage in Ribera del Duero, a vintage marked by a severe frost on September 24th. The vineyards of Vega Sicilia were saved by some anti-frost burners that really made the difference. Even though, there are only some 70,000 bottles of 2008 Único, a wine that will be released around March 2016 after the 2007, and before they sell 2005 and 2006. It’s a fresher, more mineral version of Vega, and very much Vega in character. It has a certain aroma that I cannot define that I also found in the 2011 Valbuena. The palate is surprisingly polished; the wine is quite accessible from now on, with fine tannins and a subtle thread of acidity going through the core. This is a lighter version of Único, but one style I like very much; it’s a wine that should drink well throughout its life. A triumph for the vintage conditions.’ Drink 2015-2030

To buy this wine click here.