Fine Wine Offers

Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero and Rioja, Spain

The Winery

The symbolic estate of Vega Sicilia covers 1000 hectares, of which 210 under vine. Nineteen soil types and 64 plots are managed and vinified separately, resulting in the optimal expression of these ancient wine lands. It was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec, planting them alongside Spain’s signature Tinto Fino, a clone of Tempranillo.

The Vega Sicilia range is made up of several cuvees including the Unico vintage, being the flagship, followed by the non-vintage Reserva Especial red, a blend of top vintages, made up of Tinto Fino (Tempranillo 80%), Cabernet Sauvignon and little splash of Merlot, with normally 10 years traditional ageing, though this has recently started to decrease to 5 or 6 years since Javier Ausas took the reins as winemaker.

Macán and Macán Clásico are from Rioja and are the result of a unique partnership between Vega Sicilia and Benjamin de Rothschild of Lafite fame. The wines are not blends of various terroirs but aim to express one distinct terroir – that of San Vicente de la Sonsierra in Rioja Alta.

The Wines

Macán Clásico 2020, Rioja – £186 per 6 Bottles, In-bond

Following the Bordeaux tradition of offering a second wine, Macán Clásico uses younger vine fruit and spends a few months less ageing in oak.

The 2020 Macán Clásico was cropped from a more generous yield. This is one of the most elegant vintages of this bottling so far. It has showy aromatics with notes of smoky bacon, a bit meaty, and the thing that surprised me more was the velvety texture. – 94 points Wine Advocate

Macán 2019, Rioja – £318 per 6 Bottles, In-bond

Macán is a modern take on the highly expressive and top-quality wines of the DOCa Rioja. It is made exclusively with Tempranillo grapes, from a careful selection made from parcels situated on high terraces with poor and gravelly soils, with little evolution and clay-lime nature.

It’s almost infanticide to be tasting this wine so young,” says Gonzalo Iturriaga, and he may have a point. Riper and plusher than the 2018 release, this pure Tempranillo was aged in 50% new French and a little American oak. Polished and powerful, yet well balanced, refined and clearly delineated with graceful dark berry and cedarwood flavours and underlying concentration. – 94 points Tim Atkin MW

Bodegas Alion 2020, Ribera del Duero – £365 per 6 Bottles, In-bond

The 2020 Alión is made from several different plots in Padilla de Duero, Valbuena de Duero and Pesquera de Duero. It is aged in barrels and foudres, with a small portion going into concrete vats. Garnet-red in hue. The aromas feature notes of sour cherry and blackberry, along with wild herbs and undergrowth. The palate is dry and chalky, with mild freshness and a rich, taut mouthfeel that precedes a polished, smooth, long-lasting and complex finish. This is Vega Sicilia’s modern approach to Ribera del Duero. Drink now to 2040. – 93 points Vinous

Bodegas Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5º 2019 – £333 per 3 Bottles, In-bond

The estates wines are known for their ageing potential but Valbuena is the most open and forward drinking of the wines. The 2019 Valbuena 5º is Tempranillo with a 3% dash of Merlot. It is aged for up to two years, one in foudres and the other in different kinds of oak barrels. Garnet-red, with a faint bluish-purple sheen. The aromas feature cedar and vanilla accompanied by plum, sour cherry and subtle pine hints. The dry and velvety palate shows a faintly chalky texture and supple tannins that create an unctuous but taut character. The energetic red is wrapped in a gently plush blanket. Drink 2025 – 2035. – 94 points Vinous

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Castello della Sala, Italy

Cervaro della Sala 2022, Umbria IGT – £335 per 6 Bottles, In-bond

The first vintage of Cervaro was 1985. It is now a much anticipated release and firm Handford favourite. It has the generosity and personality of a classic Napa Chardonnay married with the tension and savoury notes of a great Puligny. Always a beautiful wine from the first sip. This was one of the first Italian white wines to undergo malolactic fermentation and to age in barriques.

A blend of Chardonnay from the best plots and a small quantity of Grechetto make a wine that can age over time and represents the elegance and complexity of this unique estate.

Antinori Castello della Sala Bramito Chardonnay 2023 – £115 per 6 Bottles, In-bond

Bramìto is the estate’s 100% Chardonnay and its first vintage dates back to 1994. The grapes are from younger Chardonnay vines on the estate, sitting on soils rich in fossil deposits with veins of clay that give this wine minerality and elegance. The juice is only part barrel fermented, with malolactic fermentation lending a luscious creamy texture and flavour to the wine.

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Tenuta San Guido – The Great 2021 Vintage

Exceptional throughout Tuscany this is in James’s top three of all time, and the Guidalberto is their best ever vintage. Conditions were near perfect through the growing season. Just a little too much heat and sunshine in high summer was offset by a gentle spray of kaolin clay that effectively shades the vines, the latest innovation in the battle against climate change! Harvests were well paced and over a long period of nearly three weeks, starting in the lower vineyards and finishing in the prestigious 300m plots that give most of the fruit for the top wine.

Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2021, Bolgheri

Offered as a pack of 6 bottles each of Sassicaia and Guidalberto – £1445 per 12 bottles in bond. Very limited supplies and will be allocated – please email to register your interest.

Deep and textured blood red/ruby and almost opaque in appearance. Subtle, elegant aromas of wood spice, soft char; gentle yet lush and with no harsh Cabernet notes. Cherry, raspberry and currant fruits with a dab of mint leaf. The real joy of Sassicaia 2021 is the harmony; wonderfully balanced and nothing is in short supply. The depth is extraordinary and the fine acid structure is akin to that of the mighty 2016 vintage. Like all great wines it will be difficult to resist in youth but the recommended drinking window is 2029 to 2041 and beyond. JH

“The Tenuta San Guido 2021 Bolgheri Sassicaia offers impeccable balance, excellent freshness and absolutely no signs of over-ripeness.” – 100 points, Wine Advocate

Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto 2021 Bolgheri – £195 per 6 Bottles, In-bond

Carlo Paoli, Tenuta San Guido’s director of winemaking, hails that as his best ever. The percentage of Merlot was reduced to the more typical 40% this year, as quality of the Cabernet was so good. This offers delicious dark fruit aromas and trademark silky tannins. Drink now and for a decade or more, so time to enjoy now while you wait patiently for your Sassicaia! 

“Cassis and blueberry, blue flowers, and violet and iris notes are followed by a palate full of perfectly ripe blackberries and blueberries wrapped in gentle, cream flavours. This is a wine of velvety richness balanced by vivid acidity, with very pure, focused flavours and aromas. Delightful! Drinking window 2024-2038” – 95 points, Decanter

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