1998 Vega Sicilia Unico Gran Reserva

Year: 1998
Appellation: Ribera del Duero
Country: Spain
Wine Spectator: 91
Wine Advocate: 98
Vinous Media: 96
Wine Enthusiast: 94
Red Wine
Price :
$350.00
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"This polished red shows cedar and sandalwood aromas, with flavors of dried cherry, coffee, tobacco, mineral and spices. Solid tannins are well-integrated, and this is still fresh and lively. Harmonious, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2014. 6,700 cases made." (WS)

"The 1998 Unico is purple-colored with a complex bouquet of wood smoke, violets, Asian spices, mineral, blueberry, and assorted black fruits. This is followed by a full-bodied, dense, loaded wine with gobs of sweet fruit, great concentration, and layers of flavor. It will continue to evolve for another 5-7 years and drink well through 2040+." (WA)

"($440) Ruby-red. Exotic aromas of red and dark fruits, iron, dried flowers, cured meat and tobacco are strongly reminiscent of a top vintage of Chateau Haut-Brion. Luscious cherry and cassis flavors display a superb balance of depth and structure, offering noteworthy power but a weightless quality that is simply uncanny. Candied flowers, smoky minerals and vanilla bean add complexity and extend through an endless finish. I'd love to sneak this into a tasting of 1998 Saint-Emilion and Graves wines in ten years or so. (Europvin USA, Van Nuys, CA)" (IWC)

"Lovely tobacco, dried fruit, spice and leather create that unique, classy nose that is Vega Sicilia Unico. This may not be the best recent vintage of this high-flying wine (1991 and 1994 were better), but it is still quite impressive. The palate is maturing but shows vitality, and the flavors of cherry, tobacco, cracked spice and roasted plums are sublime and… " (WE)

Winery Notes:
To lovers of fine wines, Vega Sicilia needs little introduction. This is by far the most prestigious wine estate in Spain, with an almost mythical reputation for quality and rarity. The property is located 100 miles north of Madrid in the shallow Duero (Douro) river valley on the high remote plateau of Castilla y Léon. The altitude is over 700 metres creating a special climate ; the cold nights and hot days during the crucial ripening period in September largely contribute to the uniqueness of Vega Sicilia. In a good vintage only about 20.000 cases of wine are made and subsequently sold on a strict allocation basis. Demand in Spain alone well exceeds the total quantity available. The grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec, first brought to the estate from Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé vineyards in 1864.

The other unique particularity of Vega Sicilia is the long maturation in cask and bottle before release. The Valbuena is only released after 5 years...3 years in cask and 2 years in bottle. The Unico is always at least 10 years old and sometimes as much as 25 years old before release, depending on the quality of the vintage and its capacity to age. The wines are truly remarkable with enormous complexity, intensity and richness. The soft velvety texture, gorgeous mature flavours of black fruit, leather and oak are absolutely unique. Where in the world does one find a wine that is released in confidential quantities only when completely ready to drink?