This red is generous and expressive, delivering dried cherry, tobacco, mineral and spice flavors in a rich, round texture, with a good balance of well-integrated tannins and racy acidity. More harmonious than assertive, but shows plenty of depth. Drink now through 2023.
Vega Sicilia's 2003 Unico, mainly Tempranillo with a balancing 8% of Cabernet Sauvignon, was aged in wood for nearly seven years before being bottled, starting with 15 months in large oak vats, followed by 25 months in new barriques, before being transferred to used ones for another 17 months and ending its elevage with a further 22 months in those large wood vats again. As I uncork the bottle, the aroma reminds me of a classical Tempranillo, with some dill notes from the American oak and a minty hint from the Cabernet. It actually makes me think of traditional Rioja, believe it or not. The wine doesn't show the heat of the vintage, and manages to transmit a general sensation of balance and finesse that is quite remarkable for the characteristics of the year. The aim here was to avoid the confited and raisiny notes of the fruit and the spirity character so common in that vintage. It starts off slightly lactic, with notes of cafe au lait, coconut and cola. With a bit of time, it turns more flowery and shows more red fruit. It is very aromatic, with plenty dry herbs, thyme and rosemary, even pine nuts, a bit of resin and some cured meat, and overall has a very complex nose. The mouth is a little more transparent toward the heat of the vintage, it is powerful and full-bodied, but manages to keep freshness. The minty note is there, with some hints of chalk that make it very tasty. It feels briary and opulent. A success over the vintage conditions, it already shows some signs of complexity, which points at an approachable Unico.
"Life is a journey of discovery and Spain has given me some of the greatest wine discoveries in my professional life… they are committed to making great wines and the results are in the bottle."
- Robert Parker
A Spanish “First Growth”, Vega Sicilia is the most powerful producer hailing from the Ribera del Duero. The winery was purchased by the Alvarez family in 1982, after a history of changing hands several times. This is where it began to see prosperity, as quality and attention to detail rose with the new ownership. The property is over 2000 acres, only a fraction of which are planted to grapevines. Grapes grown include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Tinto Fino.
In reaction to the hard hit the Spanish wine industry took during the most recent economic downturn, Sicilia has renovated practices to get with the times and avoid another fiscal blow. The company has also founded new projects, including a new winery in Rioja in partnership with Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, who of course is part of the famed Rothschild family and owners of Mouton and Lafite. There are three wines available from Vega Sicilia, Unico, Reserva Especial and Valbuena.
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