2019 Único Reserva Especial (2006, 2007, 2009), Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain
Drink 2019 - 2029
Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Jan 2019)
Composed of the 2006, 2007 and 2009 vintages. To be released in 2019.
Charred wood, tea leaves, dried cherries and milk chocolate. The fruit has a more mature style than the 2009 (understandably) and there is superb tarry character adding complexity to the finish. Slinky tannins. Finishes with an oxidative edge that makes me conservative about drinking dates.Drink 2018 - 2028
Richard Hemming MW, jancisrobinson.com (Dec 2018)
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Dec 2018)
Drink 2023 - 2037
Josh Raynolds, vinous.com (Dec 2020)
About this WINE
Vega Sicilia, Spain's “first growth” and most prestigious wine estate, is located in Ribera del Duero. It was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of local grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec) and planted them, together with Spain’s signature grape Tinto Fino (aka Tempranillo) in the arid Ribera soils.
The winery begun building its formidable reputation after 1903 under the ownership of Antonio Herrero, winning a number of awards at home and overseas. The estate changed hands several more times before its acquisition by the current owners, the Álvarez family, in 1982.
The estate’s success is founded on its meticulous approach. In the vineyard it applies low yields, aided by green harvesting and painstaking selection at harvest. In the winery, wines are aged in any number of receptacles – using French and American, new and old oak, small barrels or huge vats – to engender further complexity. Despite prolonged barrel ageing, the fruit is never dried out or overly oaky – compelling evidence of the superb quality of its raw materials.
The Vega Sicilia range includes three cuvées: Único (literally translating as “unique”) is the flagship, followed by Único Reserva Especial (a multi-vintage blend) and their “entry-level” offering Valbuena 5° (an expression of Tinto Fino aged for five years, hence the “5°”). The top two wines are a blend of Tinto Fino with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot, depending on the vintage. They are both aged for approximately 10 years prior to release, normally spending six of those in barrel and three in bottle.
This illustrious property laid the founding stone for Ribera del Duero, which is now acknowledged to be one of the best wine regions in Spain.
Vega Sicilia has now built up a portfolio which includes Bodegas Alion (providing a more modern expression of Ribera del Duero), Bodegas Pintia (in the emerging region Toro), Macán (a partnership with Benjamin de Rothschild) and the Hungarian Tokaji estate, Oremus.
A high quality red wine grape that is grown all over Spain except in the hot South - it is known as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Cencibel in La Mancha and Valdepenas and Ull de Llebre in Catalonia. Its spiritual home is in Rioja and Navarra where it constitutes around 70% of most red blends.
Tempranillo-based wines tend to have a spicy, herbal, tobacco-like character accompanied by ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits. It produces fresh, vibrantly fruit driven "jovenes" meant for drinking young. However Tempranillo really comes into its own when oak aged, as with the top Riojas where its flavours seem to harmonise perfectly with both French and American oak, producing rich, powerful and concentrated wines which can be extraordinarily long-lived.
In Ribera del Duero it generally sees less oak - the exception being Vega Sicilia where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and then aged for an astonishing 7 years in oak and is unquestionably one of the world`s greatest wines.
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Made from a blend of 2006, 2007 and 2009 Único, this is a fascinating comparison to the single 2009 vintage wine. Huge levels of dark blackberry fruit ooze through and there is a richness to Reserva Especial with is really noticeable. This is a warming wine to savour and sink in to. It is really layered with a savoury, toasty core and the additional maturity of the 2006 and 2007 components is evident in its mellow style. Notes of leather and macerated berries come across, yet it is still incredibly fresh with such super-fine tannins. This is smooth, svelte and extremely long. Drink 2019-2040.
Catriona Felstead MW, Wine Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (Dec 2018)
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