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Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial

  • JS99
  • RP95
  • WS95
  • WE90
750ML / 14% ABV
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750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine has no vintage, as it blends harvests, and is representative of the more stable concept of Vega Sicilia. With this wine, the winery seeks to continue a very old Spanish custom and bring together the balance of different vintages.

Traditionally in Spain, the few wineries that bottled their wines (most sold their wines from the cask) made two types of wine with each harvest: that of the current year, and another wine without a specific harvest, which was called "Reserva Especial". It was a blend of wines from the best harvests, which came to be the most representative wine of the winery.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JS 99
James Suckling
Vintages blended seamlessly together. Unique to Vega Sicilia. The tobacco, spice and earthy depth here is terrific. Very complex iodine and almost oyster shell minerals. An array of red and black cherries and plums. Very complex. Very fresh. A blend of 2006, 2007 and 2009. Try in 2022.
RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The one non-vintage wine released yearly, as a blend of different harvests, is now the NV 2017 Único Release Reserva Especial, which contains wine from the 2003, 2004 and 2006 vintages—very warm and ripe years in general in Ribera del Duero, especially the 2003. As all recent vintages of Único, it is mainly Tempranillo with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. It has younger wines than last year's release, which was made up of 1996, 1998 and 2002, and the wine shows it with less developed aromas and a more fruit-forward profile. It has the classical developed Vega Sicilia bouquet, but the newer vintages used this time and the extra bottle time they have given to the 2005 Único (which is released at the same time as this), makes them show similar profiles. What I'm trying to say is that this is certainly younger than the majority of Reserva Especial to date, and the forest floor, spicy and musky aromas are combined with more primary notes of fruit. The palate has the polished texture and the very fine tannins that are the signature of this cuvée, and a very long and tasty finish. It's quite approachable, but should also be able to develop in bottle.
WS 95
Wine Spectator
This red is medium-bodied but dense, offering cherry, tobacco, tea and baking spice flavors, with notes of underbrush and loamy earth. Balanced, showing firm tannins and orange peel acidity. Old-school elegance. A blend of 2005, 2006 and 2007 vintages. Drink now through 2026.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast

A blend of multiple vintages of Tempranillo and other grapes, the nose offers muddled, overripe fruit scents. Grabby, pulling tannins make for a firm palate, while this tastes of brambly berry and plum along with a touch of spice. The finish shows a the combination of oxidation and raisiny flavors.

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Bodegas Vega Sicilia

Bodegas Vega Sicilia

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Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Spain
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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

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Ribera del Duero

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Ribera del Duero is located in northen Spain’s Castilla y León region, just a 2-hour drive from Madrid. While winemaking in this area goes back more than 2000 years, it was in the 1980s that 9 wineries applied for and were granted Denominación de Origen (D.O.) status. Today, more than 300 wineries call Ribera del Duero home, including some of Spain’s most iconic names.

Notable Facts Ribera’s main grape variety, Tempranillo, locally know as Tinto Fino, is perfectly suited to the extreme climate of the region, where it must survive scorching summers and frigid winters. Low yields resulting from conscientious tending to old vines planted in Ribera’s diverse soils types, give Ribera wines a distinctive depth and complexity not found in other Tempranillos. Rich and full-bodied, the spice, dark fruit and smoky flavors in a bold Ribera del Duero will pair well with roasted and grilled meats, Mexican food and tomato-based sauces.

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Tempranillo

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins and a bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions and important throughout most of Spain. Depending on location, it takes on a few synonyms; in Penedès, it is known as Ull de Llebre and in Valdepeñas, goes by Cencibel. Furthermore in Portugal, known as Tinta Roriz, it is a key component both in Port and the dry red wines of the Douro. The New World regions of California, Washington and Oregon have all had success with Tempranillo, producing a ripe, amicable and fruit-dominant style of red.

In the Glass

Tempranillo produces medium-weight reds with strawberry and black fruit characteristics and depending on yield, growing conditions and winemaking, can produce hints of spice, toast, leather, tobacco, herb or vanilla.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and good acidity make it extremely food friendly. Pair these with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a naming system is in place to indicate how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release. Rioja labeled Joven (a fresh and fruity style) spends a year or less in oak, whereas Gran Reserva (complex and age-worthy) must be matured for a minimum of two years in oak and three years in bottle before release. Requirements on Crianza and Reserva fall somewhere in between.

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