2013 Vega Sicilia Unico
Bodegas Vega Sicilia is one of the absolute top ten of the wine world and has long been an icon of wine country Spain. Founded in 1864 and still alive and kicking, it is also a leader in quality and one of the most modern wine companies in the country. This is partly due to the current owners, the Alvarez family, who bought Vega Sicilia in 1982 and have since then with unrelenting investments, in better and worse times, improved the quality of both the vineyard and the bodega. At the same time they bought properties in Toro, Pintia and in Ribera del Duero, Alion.
The 2013 Vega Sicilia Unico was only brought to the market after 10 years as usual with Vega Sicilia. 2013 was a somewhat cooler year with sufficient rain and that can be tasted in the wine because it is super subtle, elegant and fresh, complex, silky smooth and with precision. The wine first matured in 225 liter barrels and then in 22,000 liter oak barrels until bottling in June 2019. For the 2013 Vega Sicilia Unico, the final blend was 97% Tinto Fino and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon with slightly less alcohol, 14%, and a pH of 3.78 and 5.2 grams of acidity, fresh and balanced, more elegant and subtle. Único often transcends the character of the vintage and does not follow the norm in the region, and the 2013 is a good example of this. It was a very rainy and complicated vintage; they harvested fairly quickly to avoid botrytis, and while other people waited for concentration, they didn't, and their approach clearly paid off. It is aromatic and floral, less dense than the 2012, more subtle, expressive and elegant. It is clean and fresh, tasty, with very fine tannins. It is a great surprise for the vintage and one of the best Únicos of recent years.
The history of Vega Sicilia dates back to 1864 with an unprecedented revolutionary step for the time. In that year, Eloy Lecanda founded the winery and imported 18,000 cuttings of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot and pinot noir from Bordeaux. He plants these cuttings on his father's finca, just east of Valladolid. A long education in barrique and wooden foeders follows. Only in 1915 did the domain itself bottle the first Valbuena and Vega Sicilia.
Vega Sicilia establishes its reputation for good in 1929 at the World Exhibition in Barcelona. There, the years 1917 and 1918 receive an award. From that moment on, the company expanded its image to its current, almost legendary dimensions.
In 1982 a new era dawned with the acquisition of the domain by the current owner, the Alvarez family. The new owner immediately starts an extensive program of investments in the vineyards and cellars, without affecting the unique character of Vega. In that year the D.O. Ribera del Duera set. After the successful acquisition of Vega Sicilia, the Alvarez family is considering further expansion. They look for the best terroirs and add a number of famous or promising wine regions to their property in a relatively short time.
This domain, the most famous in Spain, was founded by Eloy Lecanda in 1864. Throughout its history, the domain has belonged to various families, but has always preserved its uniqueness and class. It all started in 1848 when Don Toribio Lecanda, a Basque, helped Marqués de Valbuena out of financial difficulties by buying a 2000 ha property. When Don Eloy Lecanda inherited this domain from his father on July 22, 1859, he decided to do something with it. In 1864 he goes to Bordeaux and buys 18,000 vines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Malbec, Merlot and Pinot Noir. When he planted it on his Finca Vega Sicilia, it was an act of infatuation for many. After all, the domain mainly lived from cattle breeding, orchards and the sale and production of ceramics.
When the Lecanda family also got into financial difficulties, a new lender made its appearance: the Herrero family. 15 years later, Antonio Herrero Velázquez acquired the entire domain. In 1905, management of the domain came into the hands of Txomin Garramiola. This Basque actually worked for the Riojabodega Cosme Palacio. Since it was difficult for him to continue to supply wine to his customers in Bilbao due to the phyloxera - Bilbao was at that time the nerve center for Spanish wines, especially those of Rioja - he suggested to the sons of Antonio Herrero, who had been responsible since 1901 goods for the domain, to rent the bodega to him for a term of 10 years. Palacio took Txomin as a confidant, he would make the wine. The style of this wine would be in line with the wine that Cosme Palacio customers were used to, i.e. Rioja style: long aging in wood and bottling when the orders arrived, not before. The domain then listened to the name Bodegas de Lecanda.
When the lease expired in 1915 and the domain was renamed Hijos de Antonio Herrero, the 3 brothers were able to convince Txomin to stay on. After all, it was a matter of prestige that the wine would be made further. From 1915, Txomin was able to make its own wines, which no longer served to compensate for the shortage of Rioja at Cosme Palacio. This meant the birth of Vega Sicilia Unico and Valbuena.
At that time, the Herrero family moved in the highest Spanish circles of aristocracy and industrialists. The bodega was a heavily loss-making activity, but the other revenues from the Finca had to close this gap. It was never his intention to make Vega Sicilia a wine that would be commercialized. After all, the wine was not for sale… and only served as prestige for the Herrero family. The wine could only be bought with friendship and not with money. If someone wanted to buy a bottle without being friends with the Herreros, they asked a price that was out of all proportion at the time. This is how the myth of the most expensive wine in Spain was slowly born.
The wine enjoyed great success throughout Europe in the 1920s. In 1933 Txomin dies and in 1952 the domain is sold to Prodes, a seed factory. However, there was no longer the enthusiasm of the Herrero brothers. Until the arrival of Jesús Anadón, who remained the administrator of the domain until its sale to the current owners.
The sale to the Alvarez family in 1982 was the best thing that could have happened to Vega Sicilia. The family bought Finca Vega Sicilia as an investment - the Eulen family business is mainly engaged in industrial cleaning and security services and is one of Spain's largest groups of companies. They realized that the thread of evolution had to be picked up and have invested in this field ever since. Pablo Alvarez heads the group Vega Sicilia.
Since 1998, Xavier Ausas has been head of the technical staff as an oenologist. Today Vega Sicilia is more alive than ever!
The entire domain covers 1000 ha. 250 ha of these are vineyards, divided among Tinto fino (200 ha), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. A meticulous system was introduced for viticulture whereby production can never exceed 22 hl/ha (max. 2 kg of grapes per stick). The grapes are never harvested below 13% alcohol. 2200 sticks per ha are planted. The oldest vines are used for the Unico, the others for the Valbuena. The latter also contains more Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Unico is just the opposite.
The whole area has a clay-limestone soil, with some mixed zones and part alluvial with sandy soils and boulders (from the domain towards the Duero). The climate is continental with Atlantic influences. Little precipitation (never more than 500 mm). On average 2200 hours of sunshine. The proximity of the Duero ensures that the morning dew has a refreshing effect on the vineyards.
The secret of Vega Sicilia lies in a complex of factors:
- Quality of the soil
- Climate (micro and meso)
- Large percentage of very old sticks
- Very low yield, 8 to 20 hectoliters per hectare, depending on the year
- Very long aging in barrel
- Perfectionism in all aspects
|Type of Wine||Red|
|Region||Castilla y Leon|
|Appellation||Ribera del Duero|
|Icons||Icon Spain & Portugal|
|Grape||Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo|
|Drinking as of||2023|
|James Suckling rating||98|
|Tasting Profiles||Complex, Dry, Aged on wood, Powerful, Spicy, Red fruit, Tannines, Full|
|Drink moments||Indruk maken, Lekker luxe, Open haard|