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Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Tinto 1996

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • RP96
  • RP96
  • V96
  • WS94
  • RP95
  • WS94
  • WE92
  • V97
  • RP96
  • W&S96
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Winemaker Notes

"The 1996 Unico seems more developed aromatically than the 1995 with elements of coffee and mocha but not quite the richness of fruit of the 1995. It is more supple on the palate but with less depth. It can be enjoyed now and over the next 20 years."
-Wine Advocate

"Deep ruby. Complex, heady bouquet of kirsch, candied plum, cured tobacco, licorice, dried rose and cedar. Pungent herbal notes build with aeration and repeat on the palate, adding complexity to the deep, ripe cherry and dark berry liqueur flavors. Remarkably elegant wine with precise cherry/berry flavors and a slow-mounting mocha quality on the long, sappy finish. There's a very impressive interplay of fruit and tannins here."
-International Wine Cellar

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
The Wine Advocate

Pablo Alvarez quipped that in 1996, the growing season was so benevolent, that the winemaker was not even necessary! The 1996 Unico has a very pure, pastille-like bouquet with raspberry, wild strawberry, crushed stone and a touch of Chinese tea. It has impressive delineation and linearity. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannins. The fruit profile is shimmering in the glass with black cherries, cassis and blueberry notes. It is very feminine and powerful towards the poised, tensile finish that is long and seductive. One of the finest recent vintages, suffused with sensuality and opulence, the 1996 Unico is destined to be a great wine, one that might unfairly be over-shadowed by the 1994. 99,480 bottles produced. Drink 2020-2040+.

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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

Cotes du Rhone

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Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

DWMVEG97496_1996 Item# 94655

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