x
  • Country ranking ?

    67
  • Producer ranking ?

    10
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    from 2018
  • Food Pairing

    Skirt Steak with Pomegranate Sauce

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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2008 was a challenging vintage in Ribera del Duero, a vintage marked by a severe frost on September 24th. The vineyards of Vega Sicilia were saved by some anti-frost burners that really made the difference. Even though, there are only some 70,000 bottles of 2008 Único, a wine that will be released around March 2016 after the 2007, and before they sell 2005 and 2006. It's a fresher, more mineral version of Vega, and very much Vega in character. It has a certain aroma that I cannot define that I also found in the 2011 Valbuena. The palate is surprisingly polished; the wine is quite accessible from now on, with fine tannins and a subtle thread of acidity going through the core. This is a lighter version of Único, but one style I like very much; it's a wine that should drink well throughout its life. A triumph for the vintage conditions.

Score: 96 Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (221), October 2015

Opaque ruby. Powerful, expansive aromas of cherry liqueur, cassis, pipe tobacco, incense and pungent flowers show outstanding clarity and pick up a smoky mineral quality with air. Stains the palate with concentrated dark berry, bitter cherry and rose pastille flavors that are complicated by notes of mocha, cola and Indian spices. Distinctly generous in style but there's outstanding energy here as well. The gently tannic, dark-fruit-dominated finish emphatically echoes the spice and floral notes and lingers with striking persistence. Production for this bottling was cut by over half in this challenging vintage and the result shows what can happen when severe selection is applied in the vineyard and cellar. Speaking of tough years, the 2002 version of this iconic wine, from a vintage that has been ignored at best and vilified at worst, is drinking beautifully right now. In fact, it appears to have just entered its drinking window: its fruit is still a bit on the youthful side while its tannins have begun to recede. Like this 2008, it's a textbook example of what great vineyards, diligent farming and serious winemaking can accomplish under difficult circumstances.

Score: 96 Josh Raynolds, vinous.com, January 2017

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The Story

Unico is the Vega Sicilia flagship. The qualities of the Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon in different proportions are assembled to perfection in this wine. Each provides a differentiating factor that makes the wine great in every vintage.

The vines are grown on plots where the land is located at the point between the slopes down from the wasteland and the alluvial plain. The soil nearest the surface is made out of fine colluvial deposits from the hillside with small fragment of limestone. There is abundant quartz gravel deeper down in a sandy main soil. There are many angular limestone boulders on the surface.

Red wine made in controlled fermentation using native yeast in wooden tanks. Malolactic fermentation also takes place in wood.  After its fermentation, its goes through what is probably the world's longest ageing of a red wine, almost 10 years between wood and bottle. The different stages take place in different types of barrel: American and French wood, new and used 225-litre barrels, 20,000-litre vats, each batch is what determines the type of wood and the time spent in each container. After the stage in the wood, it is aged in the bottle to complete a long and complex ageing process. It will normally spend 6 years in wood and three in the bottle.

The different elements in its preparation are fine-tuned in the search of the master line that has guided the wine. Único remains true to a clear and well-defined style, with an inimitable character and style; elegance, strength, ageing capacity... A unique and timeless taste that has elevated it to among the aristocracy of the great classic wines.

It offers an infinite complexity that is gradually revealed, in every sip, the palate immensely silky and elegant, and has an ageing capacity that only a handful of wines in the world can claim.

 

Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico is still “a prophet in its own land”, Spain, and only a small part of the production leaves the country to be sold abroad. The production of Unico varies from 30.000 to 100.000 bottles depending on the year. The commercial success of Unico is nevertheless decided beforehand regardless of the amount produced, since each vintage is already sold out before the bottling. Yet 700 people are queuing for Unico´s customer list hoping that some of the customers of long standing would give up their place, or forget to order anything for two years, which automatically drops them from the list. The list of the privileged subscribers does not exceed 4,000, and they naturally remain anonymous. Pablo Alvarez, manager of Vega Sicilia, is conscientious when it comes to impartiality towards long standing loyal customers, even though the balance between the company´s firm commercial policy and influential quarters wanting wines outside its customer list is not always easy to maintain.

 


For example, when Queen Elizabeth II visited Spain a few years ago, the British Embassy wanted Vega Sicilia to represent Spain´s wine tradition at the dinner arranged to honour the Queen. Although the order had been duly placed and at decent notice, the estate was able to deliver only four cases for the dinner, of course with all manner of apologies for not having been able to meet the order in full.
Respecting loyal customers has been a matter of tremendous importance for Bodegas Vega Sicilia throughout its history. When Jesús Anadón was the estate steward the United States´ importer paid a visit and told him that in his faraway homeland the demand was more than 200.000 bottles. As he determinedly insisted that his order be multiplied, the inimitable Jesús stated without blinking an eye that the limit was 500 bottles and no more, and this was his last word.


Unico is a unique wine, and one of the great Spanish classics. It is the signature wine of Vega Sicilia and is taken from some of the oldest vines available. The wine is mostly Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.
– The Unico wine is produced only in exceptional years, that is, in the course of one decade two or three vintages are "sacrificed" in order to maintain the high quality. It is right that the effect of the harvest is present in each wine: then the -81, -74, -75, -66. -65 and -62 are Unicos in aromatical complexity reaching baroque extremes and the -70, -89, -62, -42 and -22 ones are based on the tannic power reaching to be perpetual wine” , said Mr. Alvarez to me when we asked his personal opinion best vintages of Unicos

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Wine Information

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2008 was a challenging vintage in Ribera del Duero, a vintage marked by a severe frost on September 24th. The vineyards of Vega Sicilia were saved by some anti-frost burners that really made the difference. Even though, there are only some 70,000 bottles of 2008 Único, a wine that will be released around March 2016 after the 2007, and before they sell 2005 and 2006. It's a fresher, more mineral version of Vega, and very much Vega in character. It has a certain aroma that I cannot define that I also found in the 2011 Valbuena. The palate is surprisingly polished; the wine is quite accessible from now on, with fine tannins and a subtle thread of acidity going through the core. This is a lighter version of Único, but one style I like very much; it's a wine that should drink well throughout its life. A triumph for the vintage conditions. (L

94 points Wine Spectator

Savory flavors of tobacco, mineral, smoke and spice frame a core of cherry and pomegranate in this red. Harmonious and graceful, supported by well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity. Has deceptive depth and complexity. Drink now through 2028. 

Jancis Robinson

95% Tinto Fino, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14 months in large wooden vats, 18 months in new barrels, 8 months in used casks and 24 months in large wooden foudres (French/American) prior to ageing in bottle before commercial release. Deep garnet with a wide smudgy rim. Spicy and laced with sweet chocolate. A certain untamed quality to the fine dark fruit. Peppery and highly seasoned but that doesn’t batter the fruit, which is more like blackberry than cherry or cassis. As on several of the wines from this stable, there’s a savoury dark-olive quality. Tannins are thick, resolved but not yet fine/elegant. Still remarkably not ready for the fullest expression of pleasure but it is clearly moving towards refinement and already has wonderful length. 19+/20 Score 

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Average Bottle Price

2017 2016
359€ +24.2% 289€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Dark

ending

Medium, Extensive and Pure

flavors

Blackcurrant, Licorice, Pepper, Vanilla, Cedar and Meaty

nose

Intense, Pure, Seductive and Generous

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Warming, Balanced, Perfectly balanced, Youthful, Full-bodied, Firm, Vigor, Ripe, Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Exotic and Sophisticated

Written Notes

Good looking normal size bottle, in an perfect condition and has by the neck level. Colour is ruby red, deep and youthful . On the nose it is intense, wide, seductive, generous, pure and forward. The taste is full, vigor, ripe, fruity, firm, with silky tannins, full-bodied, with balanced structure and youthful. On the palate it is layered and has mushrooms, blackcurrant, truffles, vanilla, cedar, pepper, nutty, leather, chocolate, licorice and meaty flavours. The finish is medium long, extensive, flavorful, pure and spicy. This wine is sophisticated, exotic and fine. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 20-30 years and decant at least over 4h before tasting.
- (Tasting note created by Tb's AI)
  • 94p

Dark, ruby colour. Refined complex nose with intense aromatics – orange peels, leather, star anise. Full-bodied, vivid palate with dense fruitiness, refined oakiness and intense minerality. Lingering and long spicy finish. Vibrant wine with good density. Will improve in cellaring for next 5-8 years. If enjoyed now, decant for 3 hours and serve at 17-18°C with roasted lamb saddle and garlic potatoes or with grilled T-bone steak with fries and aioli. JL 97p (12/2020)

  • 97p

A rich, dense ruby color, hints at the dark fruit nose of blackberry and currant that carries through to the palate, interwoven with complex aromas of black licorice, anise and crème de cassis. On the palate, the wine opens up to reveal an earthiness, with brown spice, cigar box and ripe dark fruits that linger throughout the extracted and long finish. The texture is opulent and rich, yet has a velvety quality with supple density. Rich, fine-grained tannins are balanced with ripe fruit, acidity and oak.

  • 96p

There’s an intensely ripe, fresh and vibrant edge to this focused, elegant and assertively pure cabernet that delivers attractive blueberry and cassis aromas in stylish form. The palate arrives as a precise and focused suite of ripe blueberry and blackberry flavors, building smoothly to an attractively crisp and even-paced finish.

  • 96p

2008 was a challenging vintage in Ribera del Duero, a vintage marked by a severe frost on September 24th. The vineyards of Vega Sicilia were saved by some anti-frost burners that really made the difference. Even though, there are only some 70,000 bottles of 2008 Único, a wine that will be released around March 2016 after the 2007, and before they sell 2005 and 2006. It's a fresher, more mineral version of Vega, and very much Vega in character. It has a certain aroma that I cannot define that I also found in the 2011 Valbuena. The palate is surprisingly polished; the wine is quite accessible from now on, with fine tannins and a subtle thread of acidity going through the core. This is a lighter version of Único, but one style I like very much; it's a wine that should drink well throughout its life. A triumph for the vintage conditions.

  • 96p

95% Tinto Fino, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14 months in large wooden vats, 18 months in new barrels, 8 months in used casks and 24 months in large wooden foudres (French/American) prior to ageing in bottle before commercial release.
Deep garnet with a wide smudgy rim. Spicy and laced with sweet chocolate. A certain untamed quality to the fine dark fruit. Peppery and highly seasoned but that doesn’t batter the fruit, which is more like blackberry than cherry or cassis. As on several of the wines from this stable, there’s a savoury dark-olive quality. Tannins are thick, resolved but not yet fine/elegant. Still remarkably not ready for the fullest expression of pleasure but it is clearly moving towards refinement and already has wonderful length.

  • 97p

Very interesting and original nose of dried rose petals, crunch raspberries and sweet spices. Medium rounded tannin's with a lengthy and complex finish. Great balance and finesse!

  • 97p

Incredible black currant, blueberry, stone, oyster shell and violet. Subtle and complex. Sweet tobacco. Full body, superb density and flavor. Great length and structure. A wine that is complete and complex. So much aging potential. Linear and dense.

  • 96p

“This silky red offers fresh fruit flavors of plum and blackberry, with espresso and licorice notes. This is firm, bright and balanced, with a perfumed, floral finish

  • 95p

Ruby. Dark fruity, vanilla, some spices, blueberries, rich, cinnamon, peppery, liquorice nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, dark berries, fruity, rich, intense, spices, rich and fruity, still quite detailed, long. 96

  • 96p

Dark garnet red with almost black core. Excellent structured wine with great potential, already displaying hints of mild spices and discreet fruits. Hints of black truffles in the background. On the palate opulent and rich with distinct tannins, intense oak character.

  • 95p
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Information

Origin

Valbuena, Ribera el Duero

Highlights

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