2008 wasn’t necessarily an easy vintage in Ribera del Duero – ‘Atlantic’ they’d call it, alluding to an Oceanic freshness rather than Mediterranean heat - and yet it has produced a Vega Sicilia Unico of thrilling beauty. Taut, complex and nuanced, this has everything you want to find in a young Vega, wrapped up in a package that leans towards elegance over heft, yet not at the expense of intensity. The acidity on display carries the wild fruit and spice notes so that they soar, held aloft in detailed suspension, while finely chiselled tannins create tension and weave their way through the wine providing a satisfyingly gripping framework. Yes it was a cool vintage, but boy has it imbued this Unico with an energy , persistence and delicately poised balance; all qualities that point to an excellent development ahead.
It is hard to argue with the assertion that Vega Sicilia is Spain’s greatest estate, a Grand Cru or First Growth if you like. Valbuena would therefore stand to be a premier Cru, or perhaps a top tier second wine. Either way, the 2011 Valbuena picks up where the 2010 left off and is a most impressive sibling. It will be wonderful to compare these two vintages as they age. The 2011, after five years of ageing, tastes very much like a baby Unico. The vintage here was warmer than 2008, and the resulting wine comes across as a denser, richer and a little less nervy than its bigger (and older) brother. Already showing good levels of complexity, well integrated wood flavours, this nevertheless needs at least half a decade before being broached.
As ever, our offer includes the most recent release of Reserva Especial, a wine that is never sampled in London, but often highly rated. The current incarnation is a blend of 1996, 1998 & 2002. Having not tasted we cannot pass comment, save to say that the Vega team have quite a knack for blending three complimentary vintages together to make something very special. Luis Guiterrez, writing in Robert Parker’s wine advocate, has awarded it 95/100, while the the current releases of Unico and Valbuena have been scored 96 and 94 respectively…