2012 Unico, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain
Vega Sicilia is considered a 'First Growth' of Spain and the Unico is their flagship wine. This is one of the top wines of the Ribera del Duero region, near the city of Valladolid in northwest Spain. Vega Sicilia was founded over 150 years ago and the Unico is their emblematic wine, only produced in the best years and from the oldest vineyards of Vega Sicilia. It is a blend of primarily Tinto Fino (aka Tempranillo) and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is aged for 10 years, first in barrel for 7 years and then in bottle for a further 3 years. The result is a very special and unique wine.
Berry, smoke, violet and sandalwood aromas follow through to a full, layered palate that shows super polished tannins that are caressing and long. It’s tight and very long. Give it two or three years to soften. Drink after 2023.. 98 Points. James Suckling (December 2020)
The latest in a superb run of Único releases, the 2012 is a finely judged cuvée of Tinto Fino and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards on the south side of the Duero river with a northerly aspect. There's no sign of the heat of the vintage here on a wine that is poised, complex and self-assured. Floral, mature and nicely evolved, with fine French and American oak, graceful tannins and a hint of graphite. One of Spain's greatest reds 98 Points. Tim Atkin MW (Dec 2021)
The 2012 Único is released 10 years after the harvest. They produced it with the grapes from 40 of the 210 hectares of vineyards they have, with a total of 55 separate plots and 19 different soils. It's mostly 95% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that are cooled down for 24 hours and then fermented in oak vats with indigenous yeasts. Malolactic fermentation was in stainless steel and the aging in 225-liter oak barrels and 20,000-liter oak vats for a long time as this was bottled in June 2018. 2012 is a concentrated year, warm and dry with some rain at the end of September that helped the end of the ripening process of healthy grapes with lots of color and ripe tannins. The wine has a ripe nose, with intoxicating notes of black fruit, fresh meat and blood, a spicy touch from the American oak and an earthy twist. It's a voluptuous and decadent vintage for Vega Sicilia, for those that favor years like 2006, a bit atypical, or 1999. The wine finished with 14.5% alcohol, a pH of 3.88 and 5.1 grams of acidity (tartaric). 88,188 bottles, 3,537 magnums, 328 double magnums, 55 imperials and five Salmanazar produced. 96 Points. Luis Gutierrez, The Wine Advocate (December 2020)
FOOD PAIRING INSPIRATION
This top end Ribera del Duero wine will pair well with grilled steaks, Moroccan tagine or lamb cutlets.
VINTAGE AND WINEMAKING
2012 was outstanding in Ribera del Duero with the region scoring 93/100 points according to the Wine Advocate and one of the better vintages of the early '10s and far superior to the vintage either side of it. The wines of this vintage are known for their deep colour and ripe tannins.
Unico spends at least ten years between barrel and bottle, representing one of the longest ageing processes in the world. The wine uses new and used 225-litre French and American oak barrels and 22,000-litre wooden vats. A long and complex, yet wonderful construction of the wines, during which they obtain endless nuances, definition, texture, and depth over time.
Spain's most prestigious producer, Vega Sicilia is a Spanish icon. Founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, he arrived in the region with Bordeaux cuttings of Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon and planted them together with Tinto Fino in these hallowed soils. This act laid the first stone in building the reputation of the wines of Ribera del Duero today.
This traditional estate strives for excellence at every turn with painstaking selection in the vineyard and huge investment in oak in the winery. All the wines of Vega Sicilia, from Unico to Valbuena 5° to Alion all share these exacting standards and it's this insistence on quality that has helped Vega Sicilia develop their cult like status among oenophiles today.
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SERVICE AND STORAGE TIPS
We recommend this wine be served at 18C. The wine does not need to be decanted and is drinking well now but will last and evolve over the next 40-60 years.
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2012 Unico, Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero, Spain
|Ribera del Duero
|DO Ribera del Duero
|95% Tempranillo & 5% Cab Sauv
|Outstanding - Parker
|For laying down
|Beef, Lamb, Game
|98 Points - James Suckling
|98 Points - Tim Atkin MW
|96 Points - Luis Gutiérrez (WA)
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