Vega Sicilia Unico 2005

£295.00

Incredibly floral and beautiful with dark berry, spice, cedar and mint. Chinese plums. Asian spices. Bark. Tea. Full body, dense and so soft and complex. The finish goes on for minutes. Endless and fine. January 2017 release. (James Suckling)

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 this 2005 only released in 2017.

(Fermented in large oak tanks and aged for six years in new French and American oak barriques) Saturated ruby. Explosively perfumed aromas of fresh ripe red fruits, floral oils, pipe tobacco and incense take on sexy vanilla and woodsmoke nuances as the wine opens up. Densely packed yet shockingly lithe on the palate, offering intense cherry liqueur, red currant and spicecake flavors given spine by a core of juicy acidity. Shows superb energy and clarity, finishing sweet, smoky and extremely long; velvety tannins add gentle grip. Score: 97  Josh Raynolds, vinous.com, May 2017

Neal Martin had already tasted the 2005 Único in 2012, before I joined The Wine Advocate, but then they released 2007 and 2008 before and the 2005 has been kept until now, as they thought the vintage required some more time in bottle. It's mostly Tempranillo with some 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, fermented with indigenous yeasts in oak vats and aged for almost six years in 225-liter French and American oak barrels and 20,000-liter oak vats. The extra time in bottle has helped the wine to develop its bouquet, and it feels very aromatic and open, with the classical Vega Sicilia perfume of yesteryear, earthy, leafy and spicy, even if they wine was kept because of its power. It's still powerful, but at the same time it's elegant and has a polished mouthfeel and fine-grained tannins. 93,545 bottles, 2,391 magnums, 146 double magnums and six imperials produced. It was bottled in June 2011. Next year they will release the 2006, and the following vintage to be released in 2019, will be 2009. Further than that they don't know, as the only newer vintage in bottle today is 2010 and they are about to bottle 2011 now. Drink 2017 - 2030. Score: 96   Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (229), February 2017

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.  Score: 95   Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (202), August 2012