Vega Sicilia Único is one of Spain’s most iconic wines, and is considered by many to be the best red wine in the world. Sounds good, right? The one thing to keep in mind before picking up a case or two is that Vega Sicilia Único does not exactly come cheap. This is not an everyday wine. You can expect to pay around €400 per bottle – minimum! The question, then, must be “is it worth the money?” Let’s look at what makes Único so special, shall we?
What is Vega Sicilia Único?
You may have heard of Bodegas Vega Sicilia. Located in the Ribera del Duero area, it is widely recognised as one of Spain’s greatest wine producers. Since its establishment in 1864, the winery has earned its reputation for producing wines of exceptional elegance, concentration and personality.
The Ribera del Duero region has many superstar wineries today, chief among them Pingus, but it was Vega Sicilia that really blazed the quality trail. Vega Sicilia Único is the estate’s flagship wine, its Gran Reserva.
What makes Vega Sicilia Único unique?
Well, to start with: Its name. “Único” means “unique”, and it’s no misnomer in this case. Vega Sicilia Único is one of the world’s most distinctive wines, and that all starts in the vineyard. Remember that 1864 date? It’s an important one, because that’s when Don Eloy Lecanda Chaves returned from a jaunt to France’s Bordeaux region, and he had his hands full. He brought vine cuttings of Bordeaux blend grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and the Vega Sicilia vineyard was planted.
Today, there are numerous vineyard factors that account for Vega Sicilia Único’s prestige (and price!), including the practice of green harvest leading to incredibly low yields. Everything that happens among the vines is meticulous and careful, and these low-yielding vines produce fruit of huge concentration and the absolute top quality.
Vega Sicilia Único and oak
Many wine lovers associate Spanish wines with oak ageing. In Rioja and Ribera del Duero in particular, high-end red wines spend months or years ageing in oak vessels, be they large vats or smaller barrels. Vega Sicilia Único is legendary for its oak maturation.
As a Gran Reserva level wine, it must of course adhere to regional minimum ageing times. Bodegas Vega Sicilia takes its oak ageing very seriously, however, and Único’s ageing process is a spectacle in itself. It is routine for the wine to be racked and transferred between oak vessels of different sizes, of different origins and different ages. Único is known to spend a great deal of time ageing in oak too – the legendary 1970 vintage was matured for 17 years before its release!
If you think that all this time makes Vega Sicilia Único some sort of overpowering oak monster, think again…
Tasting Vega Sicilia Único wine
Still not convinced? Let’s do a little virtual tasting to see whether Vega Sicilia’s top wine is really worth the money. Let’s open a bottle of Vega Sicilia Único 2000 and see what we find…
Its colour is deep and dark
On the nose, the wine shows sweet and concentrated fruit aromas of blackberry and red fruits, with additional aromas of smoked meat
On the palate, Vega Sicilia Único 2000 is full-bodied and warming, with great depth and a lingering finish
The 2000 vintage was aged for a whopping seven years in oak before its release, and will surely last for decades. Unsurprisingly, this one got a 99-point score from Guía Proensa. If one wine will convince you that Único is worth every penny, it’s this one.
Have you ever tasted Vega Sicilia Único before? Share your tasting notes with us in the comments below!