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Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Tinto 1981

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • RP96
  • WE94
  • WS93
0% ABV
  • RP96
  • V96
  • WS94
  • RP95
  • WS94
  • WE92
  • V97
  • RP96
  • W&S96
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1981 Unico is one of the forgotten gems of the decade, yet at thirty years of age it has really come into its own. It is a blend of 65% Tinto Fino, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Merlot/Malbec. Initially it seems lighter on the nose than the 1982, but given time in the glass it simply blossoms with pure kirsch and Morello cherry aromas, plus a dalliance with orange sorbet. The palate is medium-bodied and beautifully balanced. There is a sense of symmetry, the leitmotif of great Unico wines. Fresh and vital, this 1981 is a stunning addition to the pantheon of great wines from this estate. 77,092 bottles produced. Drink now-2030.
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
WS 93
Wine Spectator
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Bodegas Vega Sicilia

Bodegas Vega Sicilia

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Bodegas Vega Sicilia, , Spain
Bodegas Vega Sicilia
The foundations of Vega Sicilia's traditions may be found as far back as 1859, when Don Eloy Lecanda Chaves was gifted an estate by his wealthy father. The origins of the Vega Sicilia winery are officially regarded as 1864, which was when Don Eloy Lecanda Chaves returned from his travels in Bordeaux with vine cuttings, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Carmenere - all of which were found in Bordeaux at that time - and, curiously, some Pinot Noir. Regardless of how Pinot Noir arrived, the cuttings were duly propagated and planted at Vega Sicilia, although the Carmenere and Pinot Noir are no longer found in the Vega Sicilia vineyards.

Vega Sicilia's Tempranillo is trained in gobelet fashion, whereas the French varieties are trained in a Guyot system. Green harvesting is employed ruthlessly in order to control yields, and the harvest itself is meticulous. In the winery, such a massive wine will withstand many years in wood and Unico sees a complicated series of rackings from huge barrels to new oak, to used American oak, back to new oak again, and on it goes. Whatever these phases are called, Unico certainly receives very prolonged barrel ageing, with the 1970 seeing over sixteen years! And yet these are not washed out, stretched, overly oaky wines when mature, testimony to the quality of the raw materials on which they are based.
-Chris Kissack, The Winedoctor

Monterey

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A geographic and climatic anomaly among wine regions, Monterey is a part of the expansive Central Coast AVA and contains five smaller sub-appellations, including the popular Santa Lucia Highlands. Rainfall is extremely low, necessitating the use of irrigation from the Salinas River for successful grape-growing, while harsh Pacific winds and coastal fogs drastically cool and dampen the region in the north.

In the cooler districts of Monterey, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling produce wines with a crowd-pleasing combination of ripe, juicy fruit and crisp acidity. Warmer subzones are home to fleshy, fruit-forward Bordeaux Blends comprised primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

WAL465905_81 Item# 6389

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