Big Spanish wine guns unleashed

This week has seen the latest releases from two of the biggest names in Spanish fine wine: Vega Sicilia’s ‘Unico’ and La Rioja Alta’s 904 Gran Reserva.

Without doubt Spain’s leading fine wine label, Vega Sicilia released its 2006 ‘Unico’ today (Friday 8 December) at £2,340 per dozen, while Rioja Alta’s 2009 904 was released at £360 per 12 a little earlier this week.

There have not been a great deal of critical scores for either wine yet although Jancis Robinson MW noted that the 2006 vintage in Ribera del Duero wasn’t quite as good as the 2004 and 2005.

The latest Unico’s release price is just a touch above the current prices for those two wines so, as Liv-ex noted, “buyers will no doubt await upcoming critic reviews with enthusiasm.”

The 904 Gran Reserva has a score of 96 from Tim Atkin MW meanwhile who called it the “latest in a superb run” from this estate.

Jonathan White at Armit, the UK agent for La Rioja Alta, told the drinks business that the wine had been “well received as expected”.

He continued: “It’s been scored so well in recent years that people are buying into it and it’s well-priced for the market.

Inevitably, it’s a wine we’d love to get more of if we could and we get a very generous allocation as it is.”

Although there is occasional chin-scratching over why more of Spain’s fine wines (and ditto the Rhône’s) don’t create a greater spark in the market, both White and Lenka Sedlackova MW agency manager of Vega Sicilia’s agent Fields, Morris & Verdin made interesting observations that indicate that the wines certainly don’t struggle to sell.

As well wishing for a larger allocation, White noted that the release of the latest 904 was “always an important moment in the Armit calendar.”

As well as the Vega Sicilia stable (which also includes Pintia in Toro and Alion and Valbuena as well), Sedlackova notes that FMV has a “diverse” Spanish portfolio with everything from, “easy-going everyday drinking wines to limited production, single vineyard stars like Alvaro Palacios’s L’Ermita.”

As a result, she continued: “Outside of Bordeaux and Burgundy en primeur, Spain is our number one category by volume and number two by value.”

Who knows, with a broadening secondary market can certainly be seen as waiting in the wings – buyers would be advised to buy up while they still can.

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