2003 Vega Sicilia - Unico 750ml

Spain - Castilla y Leon - Ribera del Duero/ Red / Regional Blend
2003 Vega Sicilia - Unico

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International Wine Cellar | 95

Inky ruby. Highly aromatic scents of ripe cherry and dark berries, singed plum, cured tobacco and succulent herbs, with a vanilla undertone. Sweet, expansive and powerful, offering intense black and blue fruit flavors with smoke and floral accents. Rich and full but surprisingly lively, with excellent finishing thrust and sweet, harmonious tannins adding grip. Shows the ripeness of the vintage to good effect; this is a somewhat approachable and exotic Unico, especially with some air, but it has the concentration to age slowly.

Author: Josh Raynolds
Issue: Issue 170

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Wine Advocate | 94

Vega Sicilia's 2003 Unico, mainly Tempranillo with a balancing 8% of Cabernet Sauvignon, was aged in wood for nearly seven years before being bottled, starting with 15 months in large oak vats, followed by 25 months in new barriques, before being transferred to used ones for another 17 months and ending its elevage with a further 22 months in those large wood vats again. As I uncork the bottle, the aroma reminds me of a classical Tempranillo, with some dill notes from the American oak and a minty hint from the Cabernet. It actually makes me think of traditional Rioja, believe it or not. The wine doesn't show the heat of the vintage, and manages to transmit a general sensation of balance and finesse that is quite remarkable for the characteristics of the year. The aim here was to avoid the confited and raisiny notes of the fruit and the spirity character so common in that vintage. It starts off slightly lactic, with notes of cafe au lait, coconut and cola. With a bit of time, it turns more flowery and shows more red fruit. It is very aromatic, with plenty dry herbs, thyme and rosemary, even pine nuts, a bit of resin and some cured meat, and overall has a very complex nose. The mouth is a little more transparent toward the heat of the vintage, it is powerful and full-bodied, but manages to keep freshness. The minty note is there, with some hints of chalk that make it very tasty. It feels briary and opulent. A success over the vintage conditions, it already shows some signs of complexity, which points at an approachable Unico. Even though it can be drunk now, it will get more polished and integrated with a few years in bottle.

Drink Dates: 2013-2023
Author: Luis Gutierrez
Issue: 207

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Wine Spectator | 94

This red is generous and expressive, delivering dried cherry, tobacco, mineral and spice flavors in a rich, round texture, with a good balance of well-integrated tannins and racy acidity. More harmonious than assertive, but shows plenty of depth.

Drink Dates: 2013-2023
Author: Thomas Matthews


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More Vintages and Sizes of Vega Sicilia - Unico :

2000 (750ml)

About This Producer


Vega Sicilia is Spain's most well known and prestigious estate. It was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who brought vine cuttings from Bordeaux of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot to plant alongside Tinto Fino. Vega Sicilia's 3 cuvees include the flagship "Unico," a multi-vintage blend called "Reserva Especial," and the more forward-style Valbuena.

Depending on the vintage, Unico is made from a blend of 80% Tempranillo with the balance of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Traditionally the wine is aged for ten years in barrel before its release. The Reserva Especial is a blend of top vintages, while the Valbuena is made from younger vines and bottled after five years. A Valbuena cuvee with three years of aging was produced until 1998, but has been discontinued.

The Reserva Especial bottlings contain a unique blend of vintages:

1979 bottling: 1962, 1964, 1968 vintages, 1980 bottling: 1960, 1962, 1972 vintages, 1990 bottling: 1968, 1970 vintages, 1993 bottling: 1970, 1972 vintages, 1996 bottling: 1973, 1981 vintages, 1997 bottling: 1981, 1986, 1990 vintages, 1998 bottling: 1981, 1990 vintages, 2000 bottling: 1985, 1990, 1994 vintages, 2004 bottling: 1985, 1990, 1991 vintages, 2005 bottling: 1985, 1991, 1996 vintages

Click here to listen to GrapeRadio's podcast about Vega Sicilia (Show #93, 32:01 min 15 MB)
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