2012 Único, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

2012 Único, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

Product: 20128004745
 
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2012 Único, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain

Description

Delightfully fine on the nose, rich, dark, spicy Tempranillo fruit, intense and complex with notes of raspberries, black, berry fruit, smoke, sarsaparilla and grilled meat. Even more impressive still on the palate, a feast for the senses with red and black berry fruit all wrapped up in the most elegant and refined of structures. Linear, energetic and focused, this is incredibly impressive, balanced by crisp acidity and the finest of fine-grained tannins. A real iron hand in a velvet glove on the long, satisfying finish. Spain’s one Grand Cru.

Chris Pollington, Senior Account Manager, Berry Bros. & Rudd (Jan 2022)

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Critics reviews

The Wine Advocate96/100
James Suckling97/100
Decanter95/100
Tim Atkin MW98/100
The Wine Advocate96/100

The 2012 Único is released 10 years after the harvest. They produced it with the grapes from 40 of the 210 hectares of vineyards they have, with a total of 55 separate plots and 19 different soils. It's mostly 95% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that are cooled down for 24 hours and then fermented in oak vats with indigenous yeasts. Malolactic fermentation was in stainless steel and the aging in 225-liter oak barrels and 20,000-liter oak vats for a long time as this was bottled in June 2018. 2012 is a concentrated year, warm and dry with some rain at the end of September that helped the end of the ripening process of healthy grapes with lots of color and ripe tannins. The wine has a ripe nose, with intoxicating notes of black fruit, fresh meat and blood, a spicy touch from the American oak and an earthy twist. It's a voluptuous and decadent vintage for Vega Sicilia, for those that favor years like 2006, a bit atypical, or 1999. The wine finished with 14.5% alcohol, a pH of 3.88 and 5.1 grams of acidity (tartaric). 88,188 bottles, 3,537 magnums, 328 double magnums, 55 imperials and five Salmanazar produced.

Drink 2024 - 2035

Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Dec 2021) Read more

James Suckling97/100

Berry, smoke, violet and sandalwood aromas follow through to a full, layered palate that shows super polished tannins that are caressing and long. It’s tight and very long. Give it two or three years to soften. Drink after 2023.

James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Oct 2021) Read more

Decanter95/100

A textbook example of controlled, red fruited elegance, though more restrained perhaps than the glorious 2009. Undoubtedly a big, generous wine, with sumptuously ripe fruit, vibrant with redcurrants and fine cedar. The essence of Unico is its ageing, and as a result the tannins are are well matured and despite its years it retains a youthful freshness. The wine spent a 18 months in barriques and then a further three and a half years in 220hl tinas (vats), followed by extensive bottle ageing.

Drink 2021 - 2031

Sarah Jane Evans MW, Decanter (Jul 2021) Read more

Tim Atkin MW98/100

The latest in a superb run of Único releases, the 2012 is a finely judged cuvée of Tinto Fino and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards on the south side of the Duero river with a northerly aspect. There's no sign of the heat of the vintage here on a wine that is poised, complex and self-assured. Floral, mature and nicely evolved, with fine French and American oak, graceful tannins and a hint of graphite. One of Spain's greatest reds

Drink 2021 - 2037

Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com (Dec 2021) Read more

About this WINE

Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia, Spain's “first growth” and most prestigious wine estate, is located in Ribera del DueroIt 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.

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Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero

In the last 30 years, Ribera del Duero has emerged from almost nowhere to challenge Rioja for the crown of Spain's greatest wine region. Once known only as the home of Vega Sicilia it now boasts numerous bodegas of outstanding quality like Cillar de Silos, Alión and Hacienda Monasterio. Ribera del Duero was granted its DO status in 1982, at a time when only nine bodegas were operating there, yet today it has over 200 wineries and more than 20,000 hectares of vines. Most of Ribera del Duero's production is red, with only a modest quantity of rosado produced. No white wines are allowed under the DO.

Ribera del Duero owes its success to a combination of factors: firstly, its terroir of schistous sub-soil bears remarkable similarity to other famous winemaking regions such as the Douro and Priorat. Secondly, its microclimate, with its high altitude, hot days and cool nights (a phenomenon known as “diurnal variation”), ensures ripeness while preserving the vivacity of the fruit, aromatic flavours and refreshing acidity.

Thirdly, it has been blessed with an exceptional native grape, Tempranillo (also known as Tinto del País or Tinto Fino). This yields superb, complex red wines that are delicious when young but which also have the capacity to age into magnificent Gran Reservas. Finally, the immense influence of its winemakers has been key – historically, of course, Vega Sicilia, but more recently Peter Sisseck (Hacienda Monasterio) and the indefatigable Aragón family of Cillar de Silos.

The same DO rules govern Ribera's barrel-aged styles as for Rioja: Crianzas are aged for two years before release with at least a year in oak barrels; Reservas must be three years old with at least a year spent in oak; and, finally, Gran Reservas must be five years old before going on sale, with two years spent in barrel. The young (joven) unoaked red wines, called Roble, tend to boast a moreish, vibrant, bramble fruit while the best oak-aged styles of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva show intense, generous fruit, overlaid with notes of vanilla and sweet spice, and wrapped up in polished, elegant tannins.

Recommended producers: Vega Sicilia (including Alión), Cillar de Silos, Hacienda Monasterio

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Tempranillo/Tinto Fino

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino

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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