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Vega Sicilia - Unico 2011

Red Wine from Ribera del Duero · Spain
£350.00 £300.00
Case Rate: £300.00
Ex Tax: £250.00
Country:
Wine Region: Ribera del Duero
Wine Maker: Javier Ausas
Grape: Tempranillo
Grape Percentage: 95% Tinto Fino, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol Percentage: 14%
Unit Quantity (ml): 750
Best To Drink: 2025-2055
Limited Stock: (5 btls)
{{ quantity }}
96 pts  Wine Advocate/Robert Parker
Country:
Wine Region: Ribera del Duero
Wine Maker: Javier Ausas
Grape: Tempranillo
Grape Percentage: 95% Tinto Fino, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol Percentage: 14%
Unit Quantity (ml): 750
Best To Drink: 2025-2055

Description

Of the almost 1,000 hectares that make up the Vega Sicilia estate, 210 are dedicated to the cultivation of vines, with nineteen different types of soil and fifty-five plots with very specific features. In the extraordinary management of these soils, the influence of the course of the Douro River and the passage of time have been crucial. Forty of these hectares are used to produce Unico, which is aged for a minimum of ten years between
barrel and bottle, one of the longest ageing processes in the world. Both French and American oak are used, in new and used 225-litre barrels and 22,000-litre vats. Though long and complex, this maturation technique works wonders: the wines gain a myriad of nuances, a precise texture, and a wonderful depth over time. Thanks to this incredible terroir and unique ageing process, Unico can continue developing for decades.

Wine tasting notes

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.

Winery information

Vega Sicilia

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.

Expert reviews

Wine Advocate/Robert Parker (2011) - 96 pts

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.


JancisRobinson.com (2011) - 18.5 pts

94% Tinto Fino, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. A vintage that follows the historic 2010. It might not be considered a mythical year but, since it was a cooler vintage, 2011 is built on precision and elegance. Five years in wood (of different formats, the last two years in large vats) and four years in the bottle. This is an Único with a very subtle, polished and delicate style. It is extremely fragrant, more aromatic than textured, subtler than the magnificent 2010, but approaching it in quality. Great complexity and balance, with deep aromas of cedar, cigar box, incense. Tertiary profile and with fruit that has evolved and is fully integrated into the wine. A vintage that's all about perfume. (FC)


James Suckling (2011) - 98 pts

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.

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Vinification notes

A normal winter for the area in terms of temperature and rainfall gave way to a frostfree spring with temperatures somewhat higher than usual, bringing the plant’s cycle forward in this season. Summer started rather hot at the beginning of July, only to return to average temperatures in the second fortnight. The veraison date was around 12 August, which is typical for this area. The end of ripening was slow and even, with no rainfall and good temperatures allowing pickers to wait for the optimal ripening point for each plot. This resulted in very healthy grapes with a great balance of components, such as high colour indices and good acidity levels. In short, an excellent vintage. The harvest began on 15 September and ended on 28 September.