This morning we are delighted to be able to offer the newest release of Spain’s most famous wine, Vega Sicilia Unico. Unico competes with the finest wines of France and Italy for pride of place in the Pantheon of the greatest wines in the world. This year’s release returns to the 2005 vintage, which was deliberately kept back at the Estate to mature longer than normal. This requirement was due to the density and structure created by warm and generous weather conditions. As with most other regions across Europe in 2005, Spain enjoyed a wonderful harvest, which has resulted in a wine which combines rich, ripe fruit, with elegant yet powerful tannin, balanced with very good acidity. The 2005 Unico offers superb ageing potential, yet is drinking beautifully now. It has been awarded 95 points from Neal Martin and offered today for £549 per case of three bottles. It is an extremely rewarding Unico, which promises a lot.
Vega Sicilia Unico is truly one of those wines worth buying on release. The Estate produces a meagre 6,000 cases of Unico a year and the wine has a striking vintage premium. Once the wine exceeds 15 years in bottle it is nearly impossible to buy and prices of leading vintages rise above £300 per bottle: the legendary 1970 vintage trades above £500 per bottle and the 1962, a candidate for one of the greatest wines ever made, costs upwards of £800 per bottle. It is worth noting also that Pingus, Ribera del Duero’s other truly great wine, trades above £500 per bottle on release.
The Unico blend combines Tempranillo with a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, thereby producing a true synthesis between Spain’s leading variety and the best of Bordeaux. The winery was founded in 1864 by Don Lecanda y Chaves, who planted Bordeaux grape varieties, which are still used today and since 1982 the winery has been owned by the Alvarez family. The vineyards express the local terroir in its most sublime form, with many vines more than 100 years old and amazingly their signature wines, Reserva Especial and Unico are harvested at less than one ton per acre.
Vega Sicilia ‘Unico’ 2005, 3×75 – £549 IB, 95 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
Pablo Alvarez described this as a generous vintage that was generous in terms of luminosity that is captured in the wine. The 2005 looks set to be a wonderful Unico when it is eventually released. The nose is very pure and elegant with dark berries, blackberry, pomegranate and a touch of orange blossom. The palate has a pure and rather tart entry with a touch of piquancy. There are notes of blackberry, sloe, dates and citrus peel, but more interesting is the Burgundy-like texture: silky smooth and weightless on the finish. This is a very feminine Unico, lithe and generous, one that should be more approachable than the 2004. Returning after 20 minutes in the glass, it softens and offers subtle toffee-ish notes towards the finish.
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