Not since Jean-Claude Rouzaud's legendary party back in 1997 have there been so many wine luminaries from around the world gathered together for an anniversary celebration.
Pablo Alvarez, Vega Sicilia’s owner, is a well-known gastronome. He takes eight hours to make his tomato sauce, his nephew revealed, and he certainly spared nothing in ensuring that Vega Sicilia‘s 150th anniversary celebrations would enter the annals of great wine parties.
Two of Spain’s most celebrated chefs, Joan Roca and Juan Arzak, devised a menu to complement the wines which included two vintages of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet, three vintages of Vega Sicilia’s Unico and two wines from the group’s Tokaj estate, Oremus.
The A-list of the wine world arrived in force to enjoy the celebrations. Those at the party included: Pierre Lurton of Chateaux Cheval Blanc and d’Yquem, Paul Symington of Symington Port, Pierre Henry Gagey of Louis Jadot, Marcel Guigal, Angelo Gaja, Bill Harlan of Harlan Estate, Jean Charles Le Bault de la Moriniere of Bonneau du Martray, Etienne Hugel, Hubert de Billy of Champagne Pol Roger, Robert Drouhin of Egon Muller, Mauricio Gonzalez, Olivier Bernard, Jerome Philippon and collector Bipin Desai.
The next night was another party for 600 people, with famous celebrities guests including actress Goldie Hawn.
While clearly keen to mark 150 years in style, it was clear that Pablo Alvarez – who bought Vega Sicilia in 1982 from Hans Neumann – is not resting on past glories.
The cellar has some of the most innovative technology in winemaking, including one of the only two stainless steel ‘elevator tanks’ (the other one is at Chateau Cos d’Estournel). So-called elevator tanks are intended to aid the transfer of wine from one vat to another by harnessing the power of gravity, rather than using a pump.
‘We feel our cellars are shabby when we visit Pablo’s,’ said one anniversary party guest.
Future projects at Vega Sicilia include planting an oak forest to the north of the vineyards to aid freshness.
Wines served at the anniversary celebration include:
- Tio Pepe Fino en rama, Gonazlez Byass
- AOS Amontillado, Osborne,
- Sir Winston Churchill, Pol Roger, 1996,
- Bollinger RD 2002,
- Montrachet DRC, 2011 and 2009
Vega Sicilia wines served:
- Valbuena 5, 2010
- Unico 1953, 1981 (magnum), 1994
- Oremus Tokaj Eszencia 2005
- Oremus Tokaj Aszu 6 Puttonyos 1972
Sarah Kemp is Decanter’s publishing director
Buy tickets to the Vega Sicilia masterclass at the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter
Vega Sicilia is one of many world-leading wine estates taking part in the inaugural Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter this November. Be among the first to get tickets to the event, and to book your place at an intimate tasting of Vega Sicilia wines.
Decanter Vega Sicilia Reader Weekend
Join Decanter for an unforgettable wine weekend to Vega Sicilia in Ribera del Duero, one of Spain’s most prestigious wineries. Lunch will be hosted by Xavier Ausàs, Vega Sicilia’s winemaker, with an accompanying flight of Vega Sicilia wines. Book your place here.
Written by Sarah Kemp