Long awaited ’05 Unico released

14th December, 2016 by Rupert Millar

The long anticipated 2005 vintage of Vega Sicilia’s ‘Unico’ has been released after it was held back for an additional two years by the estate.

Altaya_Bodegas_VegaSicilia_SignThe wine has been released at £549 for a case of three bottles in-bond. Also released at the same time as part of its 2017 offer were other wines from the Vega Sicilia portfolio including: the Valbuena 2012 and Alión 2013 likewise from Ribera del Duero, the Pintia 2012 from Toro and Macán 2013 from Rioja.

The estate’s ‘Reserva Especial 2017’, a blend of the 2003, 2004 and 2006 vintages, was also released for £648 per three IB.

Normally released after 10 years in the cellar, the estate’s winemaker, Gonzalo Iturriaga, explained to the drinks business that the 2005 Unico was such an immense wine when it was young that the decision was made to keep it back a little longer than usual to allow it to mellow.

“It was a wine with great potential but big tannins and acidity,” he said. “It was a good idea [to hold it back], the wine has changed completely.”
It helped that the 2007 and 2008 vintages were not quite as enormous and could be rolled out beforehand. The estate’s run of releases to date therefore goes: 2004, 2007, 2008 and now 2005.

Iturriaga explained that the 2006 would be released for 2018 and the sequence would come back in order by 2019 with the release of the 2009.

Catriona Felstead MW, Spanish buyer for agents Berry Bros & Rudd, said of the wines in general: “What struck me overall about the 2017 Vega Sicilia release was the freshness and balance in all the wines across the board. The quality bar was set very high so that all the wines shone, rather than one individual wine dominating completely.”

Yet of the 2005 Unico in particular she commented: “2005 Unico had the most enticing perfume. I found the wine supremely elegant – much more so than I was expecting given that it has been deliberately held back by the winery until now due to its more structured style. The tannins were clearly evident but the wine succeeded in combining that with a finesse and freshness that was incredibly appealing. This is a Unico to enjoy for many years to come but its quality and charm is already evident now. I thought it was delicious.”

Speaking to db, she added that the merchant had acquired a good allocation of the wine with a “slight increase” on last year and she expected it to go down very well with clients.

The wine currently lacks a recent score from a major critic, Neal Martin having provided one for The Wine Advocate a number of years ago when the wine was still very young.

Felstead said she was sure there would be a retasting soon and the new score would “only increase its appeal”.

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