Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Tinto 2009
The bedrock is schistous: the same rock that underlies the Port vineyards of the Douro further downstream. The topsoil is chalk-based, very pale and quite sandy.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Unico is a selection from Vega-Sicilia’s top benchland parcels of tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon, both varieties part of the original plantings at the estate in the 19th century. The contemporary vines, now an average of 35 years old, are rooted in rocky limestone and quartz gravels at the south end of the estate, with a cool northern exposure; the fruit of those vines ferments spontaneously in wooden vats, then ages in oak barrels for five years, and for more time in bottle. With ten years of age, this 2009 is youthful and dynamic. Beyond the initial scents of oak, you’ll find brisk, tart red cherry and boysenberry fruit energized by the Mediterranean warmth of the tannins. Complex and savory, it’s compelling to drink now, yet will gain beauty with age.
The warmth of the 2009 vintage is apparent from the start—the nose is warm and murky, with raisiny fruit. On the palate, this is thick and rich, with prune notes. Flavors of cassis, prune, raisin and chocolate are smooth and rich, while this is dense on the finish. If you’re looking for suave elegance, it’s not here.
Few wines have a history as distinguished as that of Vega Sicilia. Founded in the 1860’s, its reputation on its flagship vintage has for more than 100 years produced two great wines, each appropriately named "Único."
It was at Vega Sicilia in Ribera del Duero, two hours from Madrid, that Tempranillo proved its potential for greatness. When the estate's original founder, Don Eloy Lecanda Chaves returned from France with cuttings of Bordeaux varietals, he planted them alongside the indigenous variety, then known simply as Tinto del Pais, or “Country Red”, but today known as Tinto Fino or Tempranillo. Surprisingly, it was the Tempranillo that produced the superior wine.
Today, the market for Vega Sicilia is one of scarcity and increasing demand. Vega Sicilia’s growing fame and desirability is testament not only to the estate’s enduring legacy but to the world’s craving for wines of history and noble bearing. Vega Sicilia's vintage Único, Reserva Especial and Valbuena are such wines.
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.
Notoriously food-friendly, long-lasting and Spain’s most widely planted grape, Tempranillo is the star variety of red wines from Rioja and Ribera del Duero. The Rioja terms Joven, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva indicate both barrel and bottle time before release. Traditionally blended in Rioja with Garnacha, plus a bit of Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano, the Tempranillo in Ribera del Duero typically stands alone. Somm Secret—Tempranillo claims many different names depending on location. In Penedès, it is called Ull de Llebre and in Valdepeñas, goes by Cencibel. Known as Tinta Roriz in Portugal, Tempranillo plays an important role in Port wine.