India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
Delhi Wine Club Dinner: Viva Vega Sicilia

Posted: Wednesday, 21 September 2011 15:00

Delhi Wine Club Dinner: Viva Vega Sicilia

Sep 21 : At a small wine dinner organised at Hotel Leela in collaboration with their importers Brindco to welcome the group export manager of the iconic Vega Sicilia Group, Ms. Puricacion Lobete Mancebo, the members of the Delhi Wine Club unanimously agreed that Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 was the best wine they had tasted at a club dinner, excepting perhaps Gaja Barbaresco, writes Subhash Arora who had a tough job in keeping the numbers in check for the relatively small PDR at Spectra Restaurant.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

The very name Vega Sicilia may cause goose bumps in people who are knowledgeable about fine wines of the world. Their Unico is considered the best wine of Spain and in fact might well be a part of the World Eleven of the wine world, in cricket parlance. As a member of PFV (Primum Familiae Vini- a group of family owned prestigious wineries mostly from Europe-whose President is Frederic Drouhin of Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy), they have been to India before too. But if most Indians might still think of it as an Italian winery they could well be forgiven. In fact, the Sicilians owe them for helping them give a quality image makeover.

Bodega Vega Sicilia is an iconic Spanish winery that is now a part of the group having three other wineries including Oremus in Tokaj. It was founded in 1864 in Ribera del Duero and for almost a century was the only winery between Rioja and Jerez (where Sherry has been made for centuries), Puricacion Mancebo informed the members of the Delhi Wine Club as they were finishing their refilled glasses of Louis Roeder Brut, an all-time welcome champagne that worked very well with the excellent Canapés.

In 1991, the group owners, the Alvarez family, opened Bodegas Alión, a winery next door with the aim of producing more modern style wine, aged in new French oak barriques. In 1997, they bought Bodegas Pintia, a winery in the nearby Toro wine region. Oremus was purchased in Tokaj, Hungary where they make the world famous sweet Tokaji as well as the dry versions one of which using Furmint grapes was part of the Menu tonight.

Puricacion (Puri to us in India) has the easiest and the toughest job looking after the exports of wines of her group. While the quality is immaculate and well recognized making it very easy to sell, some of them like Vega Sicilia Unico are on allocation and could perhaps be sold in one American city alone and they could all sing Viva Las Vegas! But the high price tag and the policy of selling wines in more countries including India where Brindco has the onerous task of convincing the top 5-star hotels about the iconic status of some of the wines which are naturally pricy too, makes her job tough, she concedes. Her problem is that the wines are not only perceived as expensive but are actually so.

Mud Crab Thermidor and pan seared Gravadalax was an excellent match with the Bodegas Alion 2007. Made from 100% Tempranillo grapes, the smooth textured wine feels warm and full on the palate. A bouquet of complex spices explodes in your nose. These spicy aromas carry into the flavours which also have blackberry and dark cherry notes. It’s a well structured wine with ripe tannins, making it juicy in the end that is long.

Potato and leek soup was well paired with Vega Sicilia Unico 2000, the top wine of Spain made from 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon released early this year (releasing after 10 years of maturing is a standard practice for this wine) it was dark and inky- beautifully perfumed with floral and berry aromas, well balanced with a lot of finesse and elegance. The tannins were well-rounded and although one might think it as powerful with muscles and good structure, it had a measured proportion of femininity about it with a touch of gentle sweetness. One could not be faulted for thinking and comparing it to a Grand Cru Burgundy.

As Puri explained to us, Vega Sicilia Unico is not produced every vintage. In poor vintages grapes are sold but never the wine as bulk. Therefore, usually 0-100,000 bottles are made every vintage, the number printed on each bottle- these bottles showed 108,000. They also produce a label Valbuena which is aged for 5 years and is considered the second wine, though it has Merlot as the blending grape. Vintage 2001 was not considered good enough for Unico so none was made. This means that the company would be obliged to distribute 2000 and 2002 between now and 2012, she said. Not an enviable job allocating a collectable wine in limited supply!

After tasting Vega Sicilia, it would be a tough act for any wine that follows to match. Pintia 2007 on its own would be a very good match for the Grilled lamb chops placed on top of Pommes Anna, beautifully  shaped like a square slice of bread. The wine was fuller bodied; dark black cherry coloured wine made from 100% Tempranillo known as Tinto di Toro in this region, it was fairly spicy with shade of black pepper in the back layer and the usual berry aromas upfront. Balanced oak gives it an added vanilla flavour on the palate besides the berry and dark cherry dancing on the mid palate.

Unfortunately, it did feel like a step down after the elegant and feminine Unico. Pintia felt slightly grainy and rough at the edges- a perfect example of why an elegant, matured and balanced fine wine should be left to be the last to serve and savour.

If Pintia was shown up by the towering Unico, Oremus Mandola dry Furmint was a disastrous combination with the Coffee Bruleé and even the cheese platter which was a good selection on its own. A few sips of Pintia were a better match with the cheese, especially the hardened seasoned cheese. The Hungarian white wine was too dry for either and perhaps for any dessert. It would have made a perfect combination as an aperitif with the Canapés.

Oremus is known for its sweet Tokaji (the sweetness is measured in Puttonyos-higher the number,  sweeter it is). Tokaji Aszú that has varied degree of sweetness from 3-6 Puttonyos. Tokaji Aszú 4 Puttonyos would have been perfect for the Bruleé. For me, it would be heavenly to have their Tokaji Aszú Eszencia which has more than 6 Puttonyos, as the perfect dessert by itself but alas, these wines are not easily available in India due to a lack of demand and appreciation for this Hungarian nectar.

Click For Large ViewIt was a unanimous opinion of the members that the red wines tonight were perhaps the best wines served at the DWC club dinner- barring perhaps the recent Gaja dinner. The PDR at Spectra is a perfect venue for a wine dinner and the food quality and service were commensurate with the plush ambience. But I would have to wait for yet another dinner with wines from Grupo Vega Sicilia- perhaps with Unico 2002, when the food-match pairing is given due importance to give the synergy these Vega Sicilia  wines are so capable of giving to the right food, making it an ecstatic gastronomical experience.

Subhash Arora



Subhash Arora Says:

There you pay $400 and we paid under $50 a person!! Even the 2 glasses of Champagne we had are worth more than what we paid, I think. But then we are Delhi Wine Club!!I am glad you enjoyed the evening, Anurag- as everyone else who came, did. Because of the limited seats available, I could not sing and dance too much about the wines in my mails to members as there would have been a big line of requests. But its a pity and amusing to me that many members did not realise the importance of this dinner- it was definitely one of the top 2 dinners for us in 9 years, in terms of wines served (Gaja was another).There were even last minute cancellations! We shall keep on trying to raise the bar as much as possible, making sure we continue to have fun at the evening. Did you notice they sell non-refundable tickets for such dinners? This means 100% cancellation charge, payable in advance!! Subhash

Posted @ September 29, 2011 15:39


Anurag Mehrotra Says:

Subhash, I received this invitation for a special wine dinner with Vega Sicilia wines on 19th October and see the price of the dinner!! $400 per person!!! Thanks a ton for giving me the opportunity to try the wonderful wines. Regards, Anurag.

Posted @ September 29, 2011 14:25


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet