Spanish Grand Cru

valbuena back vintages

We were recently graced by the presence of Vega Sicilia CEO Antonio Menendez for a fabulous dinner at Moda Brisbane, and, tasting the wines, we realized that we absolutely had to share them with you. If you're not familiar with the estate, suffice to say that it has often been described as the Château Lafite of Spain - and we couldn't agree more! From the more rustic Toro to their flagship Unico, the wines are polished, pure, effortless, and possess an impeccable sense of place. This offer is the perfect opportunity for you to grab the legendary wines of Vega Sicilia at a very advantageous price, including the very moreish Rioja collaboration with the Rothschild family, some back vintages and the last magnum of 2008 Unico! All the details below.

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2013 Bodegas Pintia, Toro - $95
Restrained power is the name of the game here. Yes, it is slightly rustic, but VS really has tamed the Tempranillo beast, with beautiful aromatics, excellent acidity and silky texture. The well integrated use of a touch of American oak really brings the wine together and underlines perfectly the ripe, pure fruit. - TWE

"It's a more elegant year for Pintia, as cooler vintages usually help counterbalance the natural power of Toro. It's also a lighter year with good freshness, and this showed a fine thread on the palate and was nicely textured, elegant within the rusticity of the zone." - 93 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

2013 V.S. & Benjamin de Rothschild  Macan, Rioja - $119
An atypical and delicious Rioja. Forsaking the traditional use of American oak, the estate uses a mix of French oak and tanks to reveal the inherent minerailty of the terroir and its complex fruit. A very precise wine, it was one of the beautiful surprises of the evening. - TWE

"The youthful-looking 2013 Macán is pure Tempranillo sourced from a myriad of plots of old vines from the 90 hectares of vineyards they own mostly in the village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra. Here there is a mixture of red and black fruit, and some notes of dark spices. The palate shows very polished tannins and good balance, more serious than the Clásico." - 93 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

2013 Bodegas Alion, Ribera del Duero - $129
Pretty and elegant, the Alion shows a different side of Tempranillo and Ribera del Duero, with bright red fruit, fine tannins, precision and focus. Add to that heady, bright, aromatics and you've got one hell of a wine. - TWE

"It's always pure Tempranillo from over 30-year-old vines in different villages: Pesquera, Padilla, Moradillo... It fermented in oak vats with indigenous yeasts after a three-day cold soak, followed by malolactic and 12-14 months in new French barriques. It might be a lighter vintage for Alión, but one that has a subtler profile and harmony. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins, with a thread of acidity going through its core and lifting it up. An elegant Alión." - 94 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

2013 Vega-Sicilia Valbuena, Ribera del Duero - $255
Sometimes mistakenly called the second wine of the Estate, this classic Ribera was one of the highlights of the night. Dark fruit, chocolate and herby spice mingle with hints of dusty leather (in a good way!), and the palate is richly textured, but oh-so graceful. Stunning. - TWE

"It's mostly Tempranillo with 5% Merlot that was put through a three- to four-day cold soak in the oak vats, where it fermented with indigenous yeasts and was pumped over. It matured in new and used 225-liter French and American oak barriques and also in 20,000-liter oak vats, where the larger vessels respect the fruit. It's a very elegant and fresh Valbuena with a developed nose, quite classical with a fine texture, elegant tannins and a supple, long finish where the oak is still quite obvious." - 94 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

MV V.S. Único Reserva Especial, Ribera del Duero (2017 release) - $765
This unique wine is considered one of Spain's best for a reason, with Master of Wine Michael Broadbent calling it the Lafite of the country. This one was very fragrant, with spice, leather and even truffle layered seamlessly with dark, ripe fruit. Powerful, rich, even opulent, but balanced - nothing out of place. Another masterpiece from the estate. - TWE

"The one non-vintage wine released yearly, as a blend of different harvests, is now the NV Único Reserva Especial 2017 Release, which contains wine from the 2003, 2004 and 2006 vintages—very warm and ripe years in general in Ribera del Duero, especially the 2003. As all recent vintages of Único, it is mainly Tempranillo with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. It has younger wines than last year's release, which was made up of 1996, 1998 and 2002, and the wine shows it with less developed aromas and a more fruit-forward profile. It has the classical developed Vega Sicilia bouquet, but the newer vintages used this time and the extra bottle time they have given to the 2005 Único (which is released at the same time as this), makes them show similar profiles. What I'm trying to say is that this is certainly younger than the majority of Reserva Especial to date, and the forest floor, spicy and musky aromas are combined with more primary notes of fruit. The palate has the polished texture and the very fine tannins that are the signature of this cuvée, and a very long and tasty finish. It's quite approachable, but should also be able to develop in bottle." - 95 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

2008 V.S. Único, Ribera del Duero - $1750 Magnum -> last one ever!
This wine drew gasps from the people at the table. Only made in excellent vintages and aged for a minimum of ten years (including three in bottle!), the wine kept evolving in the glass to something even prettier and elegant than what it was a moment before. From fruity, primary aromas to spices, florals, leather, wet rocks and more heady dark fruit, this wine had it all. This is the last available bottling of this magnificent wine and, although mind blowingly good now, it will age gracefully for a few decades. It was an almost spiritual experience and we can't recommend this enough. - TWE

"Opaque ruby. Powerful, expansive aromas of cherry liqueur, cassis, pipe tobacco, incense and pungent flowers show outstanding clarity and pick up a smoky mineral quality with air. Stains the palate with concentrated dark berry, bitter cherry and rose pastille flavors that are complicated by notes of mocha, cola and Indian spices. Distinctly generous in style but there's outstanding energy here as well. The gently tannic, dark-fruit-dominated finish emphatically echoes the spice and floral notes and lingers with striking persistence. Production for this bottling was cut by over half in this challenging vintage and the result shows what can happen when severe selection is applied in the vineyard and cellar. Speaking of tough years, the 2002 version of this iconic wine, from a vintage that has been ignored at best and vilified at worst, is drinking beautifully right now. In fact, it appears to have just entered its drinking window: its fruit is still a bit on the youthful side while its tannins have begun to recede." - 96 Points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous


2002 Valbuena - $225
"The Valbuena offering is a brilliant introduction to the winery. The 2002, from a supposedly average vintage, is purple in color with an expressive nose of pain grille, earth, herbs, lead pencil, and blackberries. It offers layers of ripe fruit, excellent depth and concentration, and enough stuffing to drink well for the next 10+ years." - 92 Points, Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

2006 Valbuena - $265
"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. Drink 2015-2028." - 91 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

2009 Valbuena - $249
"No, the 2009 Valbuena is not a current release, but I had a bottle blind at a tasting and most people, including myself, guessed it was a Grand Cru Burgundy, so aromatic, floral, expressive and elegant it was. We couldn't believe it when the wine was revealed. Later, a bottle of the 2010 was opened, and it confirmed it as the best Valbuena of recent times, with a rare combination of elegance and power, combining characters of fine Burgundy and elegant Syrah from the Northern Rhône." - 95 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

2012 Valbuena - $255
"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." - 95 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

2005 Unico - $650
"It's mostly Tempranillo with some 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, fermented with indigenous yeasts in oak vats and aged for almost six years in 225-liter French and American oak barrels and 20,000-liter oak vats. The extra time in bottle has helped the wine to develop its bouquet, and it feels very aromatic and open, with the classical Vega Sicilia perfume of yesteryear, earthy, leafy and spicy, even if they wine was kept because of its power. It's still powerful, but at the same time it's elegant and has a polished mouthfeel and fine-grained tannins." - 96 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate

2006 Unico - $675
"I tasted the 2006 Único again, and it's clearly the best Único produced in the last few years, to which I don't find much logic, as on paper 2004 and 2005 were better years in Ribera del Duero. However it is, the 2006 is a fantastic modern Vega Sicilia in the making, powerful and clean, still very young and marked by the élevage with a whiff of American oak and a creamy texture in the palate. It should age very well for a very long time. I'd wait to pull the cork, even if it's drinkable and quite showy already. This is the current vintage in 2018, even if the 2007 and 2008 were released before it and even before the 2005." - 98 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate


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