2005 Vega Sicilia Unico Gran Reserva

Year: 2005
Appellation: Ribera del Duero
Country: Spain
Wine Spectator: 95
Wine Advocate: 96
Vinous Media: 97
James Suckling: 94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
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"This polished red offers flavors of tobacco, cedar and leather, with a core of cherry and tea. Firm tannins support the thick, smooth texture, while lively acidity keeps this balanced. Harmonious and long. Drink now through 2028. 7,500 cases made.–TM " (WS)

"Neal Martin had already tasted the 2005 Único in 2012, before I joined The Wine Advocate, but then they released 2007 and 2008 before and the 2005 has been kept until now, as they thought the vintage required some more time in bottle. It's mostly Tempranillo with some 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, fermented with indigenous yeasts in oak vats and aged for almost six years in 225-liter French and American oak barrels and 20,000-liter oak vats. The extra time in bottle has helped the wine to develop its bouquet, and it feels very aromatic and open, with the classical Vega Sicilia perfume of yesteryear, earthy, leafy and spicy, even if they wine was kept because of its power. It's still powerful, but at the same time it's elegant and has a polished mouthfeel and fine-grained tannins. 93,545 bottles, 2,391 magnums, 146 double magnums and six imperials produced. It was bottled in June 2011. Next year they will release the 2006, and the following vintage to be released in 2019, will be 2009. Further than that they don't know, as the only newer vintage in bottle today is 2010 and they are about to bottle 2011 now.

Vega Sicilia is centering its efforts in their vineyards, have done a clonal selection from their own vines and have 26 clones—some of them very old, not only Tempranillo, but also Cabernet Sauvignon. They might start a new trial to produce a white wine, starting by planting the vines, so it will be a long process." (WA)

"(fermented in large oak tanks and aged for six years in new French and American oak barriques) Saturated ruby. Explosively perfumed aromas of fresh ripe red fruits, floral oils, pipe tobacco and incense take on sexy vanilla and woodsmoke nuances as the wine opens up. Densely packed yet shockingly lithe on the palate, offering intense cherry liqueur, red currant and spicecake flavors given spine by a core of juicy acidity. Shows superb energy and clarity, finishing sweet, smoky and extremely long; velvety tannins add gentle grip." (VM)

"Lots of ripe fruit and layers. Very polished. Pretty density and freshness. Rich and flavorful yet a little loosely knit. Incense, hints of vanilla and flowers. Tight still. Better in 2020. " (JS)

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?