Sweet ripe dark red and blue fruits fill the glass, with each swirl you see a little more depth; notes of cigar, freshly ground coffee unfurl from the smouldering concentration of fruit. This possesses a silkiness on the palate which is hard to ignore, it wraps itself around the palate in layers of fruits, vanilla, spice and minerality. Whilst this is youthful, today it is open knit and showing beautifully; quite accessible now. It has silky fine tannins and harmonious acidity and a ripe elegant texture. Very polished.
Pablo Alvarez described this as a generous vintage that was generous in terms of luminosity that is captured in the wine. The 2005 looks set to be a wonderful Unico when it is eventually released. The nose is very pure and elegant with dark berries, blackberry, pomegranate and a touch of orange blossom. The palate has a pure and rather tart entry with a touch of piquancy. There are notes of blackberry, sloe, dates and citrus peel, but more interesting is the Burgundy-like texture: silky smooth and weightless on the finish. This is a very feminine Unico, lithe and generous, one that should be more approachable than the 2004. Returning after 20 minutes in the glass, it softens and offers subtle toffee-ish notes towards the finish. Neal Martin 95 - Aug 2012
Established in the 1860s, Vega Sicilia were the first to plant vineyards in the north central region of Ribera del Duero, a plateau that is known for its dry, sunny weather and cool nights. The combination of their traditional winemaking style, their exceptional terroir and respect for high quality has garnished them a place amongst the greatest wine estates in the world. Part of their uniqueness is imparted in their vinification/ageing methods. Fermented and aged in wooden vats, Único is then transferred into new barrels of both American and French origin before being furthered aged in older (and predominantly American) oak barrels and then finished in 180 HL wooden vats before being bottled. The total ageing time is between 6 - 9 years in both wood and bottle. This requires a huge investment in both time, dedication and money. Since 1982, the estate has been owned by the Álvarez family. They have been instrumental in guaranteeing their wines' high quality and reputation. In addition to their original estate, Vega Sicilia also own Alión, another Ribera del Duero, and Pintia, a top Toro, both of which are made with more modern methods (and with 100% tempranillo) though they still remain elegant and pure.
The Duero valley cuts a swathe across central northern Spain all the way to Portugal where it is called the Douro and is famous as the home of port. On the Spanish side, a relatively new but significant and exciting area for wine production has grown up around the city of Valladolid and was granted DO status in 1982. Ribera del Duero's potential was spotted long before in the middle of the 19th century at Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Spain's undisputed equivalent of a first growth Claret. High above sea-level, Ribera del Duero is an area of extreme temperatures with the potential to produce deep-coloured, intensely flavoured red wines from tempranillo grapes (known locally as tinto fino). The picture is not straightforward as some producers have started favouring an overly-extracted style which appeals to certain elements of the media. Additionally, often producers do not own their own vineyards, so the grape growers have a stranglehold on what to charge for their grapes and wine prices have risen dramatically as a result. However, many producers are making outstanding wines, which are still great value for money.