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Spotlight On: Bodegas Vega Sicilia Ribera del Duero Unico Gran Reserva 1968, 1970 and 1994

John Siudut
Posted: September 27, 2007

Vega Sicilia's Unico has consistently maintained a strong presence at auction, including impressive showings from vintages that date back almost 40 years. While the most recent releases enter the auction market in the $350 range, some older wines, like the 1970 (92 points, $180 release price, $604 current price) are trading at levels that are only $200 to $300 above that mark. Considering the cost of inflation and storage, that price may seem like a bargain, especially compared to the 1968, which is currently selling for an average of $1,093.

The 1968 has been on a strong run since the first quarter of 2001: Over the past six years, the price for this wine has increased almost threefold, going from $345 to $1,093. At recent auction at Hart Davis Hart, a case lot of 1968 sold for $16,730 or $1,394 a bottle, a sign the price may be headed even higher.

Price increases for the 1970 have been far more modest by comparison. The 1970 rose from $317 to $604, an increase of 90 percent, over the same time period.

Meanwhile, the 1994 (96 points, $350 release, $384 current) is making headway, climbing in price over the past three quarters on a steady rise in volume. The first half of 2007 alone featured sales of 109 bottles scattered over 11 different lots, with a recent Hart Davis Hart sale seeing two case lots sell for $5,975 each, or $498 a bottle.

With strong sales like this for a younger vintage, the 1970 should be considered worth a look. Acker Merrall Condit's sale on Sept. 28 and 29 is featuring two case lots and a three-bottle lot of the 1970, with high estimates near $800 a bottle. They will also be selling a case lot of the 1994 at a high estimate of $4,800.

This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. This chart plots the average price of Vega Sicilia Unico 1968 at auction against Vega Sicilia Unico 1970 and 1994.

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