Vega Sicilia is the oldest and most famous wine of Ribera del Duero – and perhaps even all of Spain. The Unico is the reference wine of Vega Sicilia.
The Unico comes from the older vines on the estate and is made with the varieties of tempranillo and more cabernet sauvignon than merlot. Although it is old, this 2003 red wine maintains its liveliness thanks to its good acidity level compensated by solid alcohol content. It has an intense ripe cherry colour, with the lively edge of a wine that is always at its best. The aroma prevails with hints of roast from the wood, and touches of hazelnut from its oxidative evolution from its years in the cask. It has generous tastes of old but clean wood, with dry tannins that are pleasantly embittered by the oak, together with the sensation of its light sweetness of its alcohol.
The 2003 Unico is a pedigree wine with a long, lasting taste.
94 Points – Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:
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..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…A success over the vintage conditions, it already shows some signs of complexity, which points at an approachable Unico.