[Go to menu]

BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA - Press reviews


    • Wine Spectator

      2007 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2015): 94

      This harmonious red is balanced and deep, offering ripe plum and currant flavors, with black pepper, tobacco, licorice and mineral accents. Delivers plenty of structure, with well-integrated tannins and lively acidity. The wine remains graceful through the long, spicy finish. Drink now through 2027. 6,500 cases made. T.M

    • Wine Enthusiast

      2004 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Enthusiast (2015): 98

      Lightly baked and hinting at raisin and fine herbs, the bouquet on this benchmark Spanish red enfolds aromas of tobacco, moss and ripe tomato. In the mouth, it's elegant and silky but also full and expansive. Flavors of baked berry fruits, baking spices, herbs and cocoa finish with a light coating of toast. This is an amazingly complete, exemplary wine that's just entering its prime. If past vintages of Unico are an indication, it will age well through 2035. By Michael Schachner.

    • Wine Spectator

      2004 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2014): 94

      This expressive red shows lacy notes of floral, cedar, tobacco, spice and orange peel that mingle in a lean firm texture and linger on the long, spicy finish. Delivers backbone and grace, in a traditional style. Drink now through 2024.

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      2004 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2014): 96

      (roughly 85% tempranillo and 15% cabernet sauvignon; aged for a total of seven years in large oak vats, new small barrels, used small barrels and large oak vats to rest before bottling, in that order): Inky ruby: doesn't look like a ten-year old wine. A heady, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, vanilla, pipe tobacco, new leather and potpourri, with a subtle mineral flourish. Spicy, sweet and expansive, offering palate-staining cherry compote and cassis flavors with exotic violet and chewing tobacco qualities. Deepens and gains spiciness on the smooth, gently tannic finish, which lingers with superb focus and tenacity.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2004 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2014): 97 points

      Moving on to the big guns, the 2004 Unico is truly spectacular, in line with the 1970 and 1994. It’s a blend of 87% Tempranillo and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. Unico has a unique long aging, in the case of the 2004, 15 months in 20,000-liter vats, 25 month in new barrels, 17 months in used barrels and a further 26 months in the big oak vats. It has complex notes of tobacco, cedar wood and blackberries, and shows very good balance between power and elegance as well as perfect ripeness. It has a similar profile to the 1994, but there’s ten years difference in experience and technical knowledge. There is nuance; there is detail, filigree, balance, harmony and complexity. There is a fine texture. In short, it is a great, world-class wine, a superb vintage for Unico. 87,500 bottles, 2,229 magnums, 150 double magnums and 5 Imperials were filled with this extraordinary wine. This is approachable now, but it’s a shame to drink so soon. It will age for a very long time, as it has the balance and harmony to do so, and it will develop more complexity with time. Drink 2016-2029. LG.

    • Wine & Spirits

      2003 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine & Spirits (2014): 93

      Although this vintage was extremely warm in Ribera (as it was most everywhere else in the world), this wine manages to transcend the imprint of that heat and present itself with grace. The fruit is jammy, but the wine has energy and power, thanks to a surprising acidity for the vintage. That freshness lends the wine vitality, and a long life ahead .Though 2003 was a complicated year to achieve the elegance that often defines Unico, this wine manages to show a good portion of that finesse. Europvin USA, Van Nuys, CA.

    • Wine Enthusiast

      2003 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Enthusiast (2014): 91 points

      Hailing from the hottest vintage in years, this is round, rubbery and showing sweet, rooty aromas of root beer, cola, mocha and stewed plum. Dense but soft, it has rubbery, savory flavors of barbecue sauce, herbal plum, tomato and carob. An earthy, loamy, chunky finish offers tobacco and baking spice accents. Drink through 2020.

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      2003 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2013): 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.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2004 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      The Wine Advocate (2014): 97

      Moving on to the big guns, the 2004 Unico is truly spectacular, in line with the 1970 and 1994. It's a blend of 87% Tempranillo and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. Unico has a unique long aging, in the case of the 2004, 15 months in 20,000-liter vats, 25 months in new barrels, 17 months in used barrels and a further 26 months in the big oak vats. It has complex notes of tobacco, cedar wood and blackberries, and shows very good balance between power and elegance as well as perfect ripeness. It has a similar profile to the 1994, but there's ten years difference in experience and technical knowledge. There is a nuance; there is detail, filigree, balance, harmony and complexity. There is a fine texture. In short, it is a great, world-class wine, a superb vintage for Unico. 87,500 bottles, 2,229 magnums, 150 double magnums and 5 Imperials were filled with this extraordinary wine. This is approachable now, but it's a shame to drink so soon. It will age for a very long time, as it has the balance and harmony to do so, and it will develop more complexity with time. Drink 2016-2029. But if the single harvest Unico is fantastic, the multi-vintage blend could be even better as it also plays with the benefit of extra aging time.

    • Wine Spectator

      2009 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Spectator (2014): 92

      Tobacco, cedar and sanguine notes mingle with dried cherry, spice and orange peel flavors in this firm red. The floral finish blooms pleasantly, showing harmony and depth. A traditional style. Drink now through 2024.

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      2009 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2014): 94

      (virtually all tempranillo, with a bit of merlot; fermented in large oak tanks and raised in a 50/50 blend of French and American oak, followed by brief sojourns in used oak barrels and vats before bottling): Opaque ruby. Spice- and mineral-accented aromas of dark berries, cherry pit and potpourri, with a toasty topnote. Minerally, incisive and sweet on the palate, offering smoky cherry and blackcurrant flavors complicated by vanilla, mocha and licorice. Shows impressive power and vivacity on the youthfully tannic finish, with the smoke and spice notes strongly repeating.

    • Wine Enthusiast

      2009 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Enthusiast (2014): 93 points : Cellar Selection

      This is the best Valbuena since 2005, and it may be better than that. Exotic aromas of leather, lemon peel, sawdust and boysenberry come in front of a tannic but lively and intricate palate. Baked, heady flavors of black fruits, pepper and mocha finish with chocolate and vanilla as well as juicy acidity. Drink now through 2022.

    • Wine & Spirits

      2008 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine & Spirits (2014): 93

      Made from the younger vines at Vega Sicilia - 80 percent tinto fino, the balance cabernet and merlot - this is one of the best vintages of Valbuena in recent memory : a fountain of red fruit, intense in flavor, yet with more lively freshness than typical for Ribera del Duero. The acidity forms a steel rail that projects the flavors and nuanced aromas off into the distance. It's surprisingly easy to drink, especially for a wine of this price. Europvin USA, Van Nuys, CA.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2008 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2014): 94

      The 2008 Valbuena is produced with Tempranillo and 7% Merlot and Malbec from a cold, rainy season and late harvest. It reminds me of the Riberas of yesteryear, sharper with a slight rusticity, long and sharp. Once fermented, the wine matured for seven months in 20,000-liter oak vats, 12 months in new barriques (equal parts of French and American oak), three months in used barrels and then six months in the vats again before being bottled in May 2011. The aromas are subtle, there is fruit, but there is soil and above all there is harmony. The palate is long rather than round, with some blood orange notes, sharp and austere, a serious wine that should age very well. The average production of Valbuena is around 180,000 bottles and 2008 was no exception. Drink now-2022.

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      2008 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2013): 93

      Opaque ruby. Sexy, oak-spicy aromas of dark berry preserves, pipe tobacco, licorice and vanilla, with a smoky overtone. Plush, expansive blueberry and cherry-vanilla flavors show superb depth and pick up Indian spice and bitter chocolate nuances with air. Finishes sweet and seamless, with slow-building tannins and a whiplash of sweet blue fruit.

    • The Wine Advocate

      ribera del duero VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL (R.14 - B.94+95+00)
      The Wine Advocate (2014): 98

      The NV 2014 Release Reserva Especial is a blend of different harvests, and therefore sold without a harvest year. This 2014 Release is a blend of 1994, 1995, and 2000, three very good years for Unico. Reserva Especial is the most Burgundian, classical and reminiscent of the old-style Vega Sicilias of yesteryear, a more subtle, baroque wine, aged for a long time in wood. It has a high level of complexity and a touch of volatility, which clearly tells you that this is not a style for everyone. This is not a fruit-driven wine. It is a tertiary wine with a developed, complex bouquet consisting in hints of leather, earth, spices and iodine, and a subtle, elegant style. This was bottled in 2010 and is one of the best modern-day Reserva Especial vintages. By the way now that we're talking about the best Reserva Especial, if you ever have the chance to drink a bottle of the 1990 release - that is the best one I've ever had. 15,500 bottles of this prodigious wine were produced. Make sure you grab at least one ! Drink now-2025.

    • Wine Spectator

      2002 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2013): 93

      Maturing now, this polished red offers cherry, herbal, tobacco and menthol flavors over firm, well-integrated tannins, ending with a long finish of cedar and florwers. Graceful and harmonious. Drink now through 2016. 3,500 cases made. TM

    • International Wine Cellar

      2002 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      International Wine Cellar (2012): 92

      ($410) Bright ruby. Smoky, floral-accented aromas of redcurrant, cherry pit and plum, with a peppery topnote. Sweet and open-knit, offering musky red fruit and floral pastille flavors and notes of mocha and succulent herbs. Shows very good depth and power for the vintage, finishing smooth, sweet and long. Not the greatest Vega by any means but highly successful for 2002, and you can actually enjoy it right now.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2002 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2012): 95 points

      Having skipped over releasing a 2001 due to frost damage, the 2002 Unico is a result of a severe selection as attested by the label which shows that just 42,932 bottles were produced instead of 108,536 in 2000. It has an incredibly intense nose, much more linear and focused than the more flamboyant 2000, with scents of dark cherry, creme de cassis and a touch of honey and melted dark chocolate. The palate is medium-bodied with a slight grainy texture on the entry, a hint of cooked meat inflecting the layers of toasty dark berry fruit. It is very harmonious and perhaps at this juncture, edgier and grittier than the millennial Unico. It is less opulent and more structured than the 2000, but is a more cerebral wine. Drink 2020-2040+. NM.

    • Wine Spectator

      2007 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Spectator (2013): 89

      Toast and espresso flavors mingle with black cherry, licorice and tar notes in this smoky red. This shows light, firm tannins and a lightly herbal finish. Harmonious and graceful, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2014. 15,390 cases made. TM

    • International Wine Cellar

      2007 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      International Wine Cellar (2012): 93

      ($180) (tempranillo, merlot and cabernet sauvignon): Ruby-red. Aromas of dried cherry, raspberry, vanilla, mocha and Cuban tobacco, with smoke and potpourri accents. Supple and expansive, offering sweet, spice-accented red and dark berry and floral pastille flavors that stain the palate. Dusty tannins add shape and grip to the very long, smooth, penetrating finish. I find this wine quite approachable now but it has the balance to age. Not the weightiest Valbuena but very impressive for the vintage.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2000 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2011): 98

      In the absence of a 2001 Unico, Vega Sicilia has re-released the 2000 Unico which I reviewed in Issue 189. The 2000 Unico is deep crimson-colored with an ethereal perfume aided by its extended upbringing. Aromas of Asian spices, lavender, incense, truffle, and confiture of black fruits are compelling. Sweet, forward, rich, and hedonistic, it nevertheless has the balance and structure to continue evolving for another 5-10 years. In strong vintages Vega Sicilia drinks well at age 50 and I would expect the same of the 2000. Bodegas Vega Sicilia’s Valbuena receives 3 years in barrel and 2 years in bottle prior to release. Each year Vega Sicilia releases a small amount of a multi-vintage Unico Reserva Especial blended to reflect the house style of Vega Sicilia at its very best. The vagaries of vintage are blended away leaving a wine that is, in my opinion, better than any of the single vintage wines except in the very greatest years. It is a fascinating exercise to taste the Unico beside the Reserva Especial.

    • Wine Spectator

      2000 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2011): 92 points

      Firm and elegant, this red is lean but dense, with dried cherry, tobacco, vanilla, licorice and leaf flavors, complex and harmonious in the traditional style. This is not showy, but has depth and length.

    • International Wine Cellar

      2000 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      International Wine Cellar (2010): 95 points

      Deep red. High-pitched aromas of redcurrant, dried cherry, potpourri and spicecake. Silky in texture and alluringly spherical, offering seamless red fruit and floral pastille flavors and late notes of blood orange and Asian spices. Nothing heavy or fat here and yet this delivers the impact of a large-scaled wine. The finish is expansive and extremely persistent, leaving notes of rose and sweet red fruits behind. I find this to be drinking extremely well now but have no doubt that it will live a long life on its balance. (I also had the chance to re-taste the 1991 Unico and it is showing superb clarity and finesse, a seamless texture and suave red fruit and floral character. It is delicious now but holds excellent for further development in bottle.

    • The Wine Advocate

      ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      The Wine Advocate (2011): 99

      The 2011 Release of the Unico Reserva Especial is a blend of vintages 1991, 1994, and 1998. It is a rich, spicy, and complex wine with impeccable balance and another 20 years of life. It simply does not get any better. When you consider that the Reserva Especial sells for less than half the price of a Bordeaux First Growth (and you don’t have to wait for 20 years for it to be approachable) it is one of the great bargains in world-class wine. Bodegas Vega Sicilia’s Valbuena receives 3 years in barrel and 2 years in bottle prior to release. Each year Vega Sicilia releases a small amount of a multi-vintage Unico Reserva Especial blended to reflect the house style of Vega Sicilia at its very best. The vagaries of vintage are blended away leaving a wine that is, in my opinion, better than any of the single vintage wines except in the very greatest years. It is a fascinating exercise to taste the Unico beside the Reserva Especial.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2006 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2011): 94

      I reviewed the 2006 Valbuena in Issue 189 (June 2010) when it was in bottle, but not yet released. It is composed of 80% Tempranillo with the remaining 20% Merlot and Malbec (the latter a rarely seen grape in Spain). Another 8 months in bottle seems to have resulted in a more expansive bouquet with notes of wood smoke, pencil lead, lavender, Asian spices, black cherry and blackberry. Rich, voluptuous, and lengthy on the palate, it is hard to resist now, but will continue to blossom for several more years and drink well through 2026. Bodegas Vega Sicilia’s Valbuena receives 3 years in barrel and 2 years in bottle prior to release. Each year Vega Sicilia releases a small amount of a multi-vintage Unico Reserva Especial blended to reflect the house style of Vega Sicilia at its very best. The vagaries of vintage are blended away leaving a wine that is, in my opinion, better than any of the single vintage wines except in the very greatest years. It is a fascinating exercise to taste the Unico beside the Reserva Especial.

    • International Wine Cellar

      2006 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      International Wine Cellar (2011): 94

      Deep ruby. Heady, exotic bouquet evokes candied cherry, cassis, sassafras, vanilla and potpourri, plus a smoky overtone. Sappy and expansive but energetic, offering sweet cherry and floral pastille flavors lifted by spice and mineral notes. Gains sweetness with air and finishes with superb clarity and spicy persistence. This benefits enormously from aeration but really should be stashed away for at least another five years.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1996 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2010): 97

      The 1996 Unico is from what the Vega Sicilia team calls “an icon vintage”. Medium purple in color, it emits a lovely perfume of smoke, mineral, Asian spices, balsamic, and assorted black fruits. Elegant, savory, and intense on the palate, it has enough underlying structure to evolve for another decade and drink well through 2036.

    • International Wine Cellar

      1996 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      International Wine Cellar (2007): 94 points

      Deep ruby. Complex, heady bouquet of kirsch, candied plum, cured tobacco, licorice, dried rose and cedar. Pungent herbal notes build with aeration and repeat on the palate, adding complexity to the deep, ripe cherry and dark berry liqueur flavors. Remarkably elegant wine with precise cherry/berry flavors and a slow-mounting mocha quality on the long, sappy finish. There's a very impressive interplay of fruit and tannins here.

    • Wine Spectator

      1996 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2007): 93 points

      Still firm and fresh, this solid red shows cherry, licorice, chocolate and light herbal flavors that linger and bloom on the finish. Balanced, with an appealing spicy note that brings you back for another sip. Drink now through 2012.

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      2000 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE), ARTIST LABEL
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2010): 95 points

      Deep red. High-pitched aromas of redcurrant, dried cherry, potpourri and spicecake. Silky in texture and alluringly spherical, offering seamless red fruit and floral pastille flavors and late notes of blood orange and Asian spices. Nothing heavy or fat here and yet this delivers the impact of a large-scaled wine. The finish is expansive and extremely persistent, leaving notes of rose and sweet red fruits behind. I find this to be drinking extremely well now but have no doubt that it will live a long life on its balance.

    • Wine Spectator

      2005 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Spectator (2010): 91 points

      This plush, balanced red shows blackberry, currant, licorice and chocolate flavors, with juicy acidity and just enough tannins for grip. Still youthful, offering concentration without heaviness.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2005 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2010): 93

      The 2005 Valbuena is purple/black in color with an alluring nose of pain grille, pencil lead, Asian spices, espresso, incense, and blackberry. On the palate it reveals its elegant personality, round texture, savory flavors, and lengthy, pure finish. It merits 4-6 years of cellaring to fully unwind and will offer prime drinking from 2014 to 2030. Bodegas Vega Sicilia remains a benchmark for the world’s great red wines. The Valbuena bottling receives 3 years in barrel and 2 years in bottle prior to release.

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      2005 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2010): 93 (+ ?) points

      Bright ruby. Complex bouquet melds dried cherry, licorice, potpourri and minerals, plus a subtle smoky undertone. Very sweet and creamy in texture, offering intense red fruit flavors that gain power and spiciness with aeration. Picks up notes of cassis and cherry pit on the back end and finishes with impressive breadth and lingering sweetness. This is still a baby,

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL (R.10 - B.91+94+95)
      The Wine Advocate (2010): 98+

      The current release of the N.V. Unico Reserva Especial is a blend of the 1991, 1994, and 1995 vintages. Purple-colored it proffers a brooding, complex, sexy perfume of cigar box, leather, mineral, truffles, Asian spices and blackberry jam. Rich, savory, and plush, it effortlessly combines power and elegance. It can be enjoyed now and over the next 20-25 years. Bodegas Vega Sicilia remains a benchmark for the world’s great red wines. The Valbuena bottling receives 3 years in barrel and 2 years in bottle prior to release.

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL (R.13 - B.94+99+00)
      The Wine Advocate (2010): 98 points

      The 2013 Release has a beautifully complex bouquet, a silky-smooth texture, elegance, and a long, pure finish. It should drink well for another 25 years. Bodegas Vega Sicilia remains a benchmark for the world’s great red wines. I was not told what vintages are in each bottling but it actually makes little difference. The Reserva Especials are blended to a house style designed to reflect Vega Sicilia at its very best. The vagaries of vintage (as reflected in Unico) are blended away leaving a wine that is, in my opinion, better than any of the single vintage wines with the possible exception of the 1942.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1999 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2009): 96 points

      The 1999 Unico delivers an ethereal bouquet of smoke, pencil lead, violets, leather, incense, black cherry, and blackberry. Already complex on the palate thanks to its lengthy upbringing, this opulent wine has layers of black fruit flavor, impeccable balance, and another twenty years of life ahead. One of the perquisites of reviewing Spanish wine is the opportunity to taste the wines of Vega Sicilia once a year.

    • International Wine Cellar

      1999 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      International Wine Cellar (2009): 96 points

      Ruby-red. Shockingly deep in color for a ten-year-old wine. Explosive aromas of cherry compote, black raspberry, blood orange, Asian spices and smoky minerals. Pure, vibrant and sweet, offering intense cherry and red berry flavors, with tangy mineral spine and an exotic smokiness. Extremely deep but energetic, with a powerful echo of minerals and singed orange on the endless finish. This is remarkably youthful but highly alluring already.

    • Wine Spectator

      1999 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2009): 94 points

      Elegant and expressive, this supple, traditional red shows cherry, floral, vanilla and mineral notes that are both harmonious and intense. Not a blockbuster, but remains fresh and alluring through the spicy finish.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2004 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2009): 94 points

      The saturated purple 2004 Valbuena offers up an expressive perfume of mineral, scorched earth, espresso, incense, and black cherry. This is followed by a medium to full-bodied, intensely flavored, spicy wine with layers of fruit, soft tannins, and a pure, lengthy finish. It will benefit from another 5-7 years of bottle age and offer optimal drinking from 2015 to 2029. One of the perquisites of reviewing Spanish wine is the opportunity to taste the wines of Vega Sicilia once a year.

    • International Wine Cellar

      2004 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      International Wine Cellar (2009): 94 points

      Deep red. Exotic, highly perfumed aromas of raspberry, tobacco, potpourri and cedar, with a strong mineral overtone. Sweet cherry and red berry flavors are decadently sweet and complicated by notes of candied rose and licorice, with a mounting tobacco quality. Gains energy with air and finishes with sexy notes of floral pastilles and raspberry liqueur. Extremely sexy right now but I've no doubt that this will age for a very long time.

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL (R.09 - B.90+94+96)
      The Wine Advocate (2009): 98 points

      The 2009 release of the Non-Vintage Unico Reserva Especial is a blend of the 1990, 1994, and 1996 vintages. Dark ruby in color, it delivers a super-fragrant aromatic array of cigar box, leather, mineral, truffle, incense, and blackberry. On the palate it is mouth filling, complex, and remarkably light on its feet for such a concentrated, powerful effort. Opulent, rich, and perfectly balanced, it will drink well for at least another 25 years. One of the perquisites of reviewing Spanish wine is the opportunity to taste the wines of Vega Sicilia once a year.

    • Wine Spectator

      1998 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2008): 91 points

      This polished red shows cedar and sandalwood aromas and flavors of dried cherry, coffee, tobacco, mineral and spices. Solid tannins are well-integrated, and it’s still fresh and lively. Harmonious, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2014.

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      1998 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2008): 96 points

      Ruby-red. Exotic aromas of red and dark fruits, iron, dried flowers, cured meat and tobacco are strongly reminiscent of a top vintage of Chateau Haut-Brion. Luscious cherry and cassis flavors display a superb balance of depth and structure, offering noteworthy power but a weightless quality that is simply uncanny. Candied flowers, smoky minerals and vanilla bean add complexity and extend through an endless finish. I'd love to sneak this into a tasting of 1998 Saint-Emilion and Graves wines in ten years or so.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1998 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2008): 98 points

      The 1998 Unico is purple-colored with a complex bouquet of wood smoke, violets, Asian spices, mineral, blueberry, and assorted black fruits. This is followed by a full-bodied, dense, loaded wine with gobs of sweet fruit, great concentration, and layers of flavor. It will continue to evolve for another 5-7 years and drink well through 2040+

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      2003 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2008): 93 points

      Deep ruby. Intensely perfumed aromas of smoky cherry and cured meat, complemented by vanillin oak, baking spices and dried rose. Chewy red berry and cherry flavors are firmed by dusty tannins and given lift by a jolt of tangy minerality. Picks up bitter cherry skin and pit on the long, refreshingly juicy finish. No way I'd have guessed this to have come from a hot vintage.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2003 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2008): 94 points

      The 2003 Valbuena is purple-colored and super-fragrant with aromas of pain grille, pencil lead, black currant, and blackberry liqueur. This is followed by a powerful, concentrated wine with an opulent palate-feel, layers of flavor, and beautiful integration of oak, tannin, and acidity, no mean feat in the torrid 2003 vintage. Supple, sweet, and long, this superb effort will evolve for another 4-6 years and drink well through 2025.

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL (R.08 - B.90+91+96)
      The Wine Advocate (2008): 99 points

      The Reserva Especial is a blend of the best barrels of 1990, 1991, and 1996 (for the record, the Reserva Especial reviewed in Issue #169 is a blend of 1985, 1991, and 1996). Purple-colored, it delivers an ethereal perfume of smoke, mineral, scorched earth, Asian spices, black currant, and blackberry. Elegant yet remarkably powerful, this rich, lavish effort seems to linger on the palate for well over one minute. Although it can certainly be enjoyed now, it has the structure to evolve for another decade and should provide pleasure through 2045.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1995 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2007): 97 points

      ...has aromatic complexity which nearly defies words. There are notes of earth, licorice, hard wood charcoal, and black currants. Full-bodied, and powerful, the wine has beautiful balance with a multi-dimensional character and the structure to last for 25-40 years.

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      1995 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2006): 94 points

      Dark red. Intense, expressive aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cherry liqueur, sandalwood, cigar box, roasted coffee and exotic chocolate. Thick and sweet, with deep red and dark berry flavors complicated by an array of pungent spices, mocha, vanilla bean and cured tobacco. Deep, penetrating and very long on the finish, with wonderfully sweet cherry and blackcurrant flavors lingering. Built to age, but this is awfully delicious right now. (Europvin USA, Oakland, CA)

    • Wine Spectator

      1995 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2006): 94 points

      Still fresh, this concentrated red delivers vibrant cherry and plum fruit, with expressive licorice, mineral and game notes. Thick and firm on the palate, yet remains harmonious through the spicy finish. Drink now through 2015. 8000 cases made.

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      The Wine Advocate (2007): 97 points

      The non-vintage Unico Reserva Especial, scheduled for release in 2007, is a blend of the 1985, 1991, and 1996 vintages. Still purple in color, it has a fabulous nose of pain grille, smoke, spice box, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. Layered, rich, and opulent, it should drink well for another 25-40 years.

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      The Wine Advocate (2005): 95 points : Outstanding

      Limited in availability (54 barrels, or about 1,300 cases), the non-vintage Unico Reserva Especial is a blend of the 1996, 1991, and 1985 vintages. The lot number is 12/05 as the estate releases this wine in 600 bottle allotments. It is a fabulously complex, dark ruby/purple-colored offering boasting sumptuous notes of graphite, kirsch liqueur, spice box, and vanilla. Opulent, round, and full-bodied, with great precision, freshness, and depth, it should last for another 20-30 years. It is good to see this ancient tradition of Spain being carried on by this hallowed winery.

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      The Wine Advocate (2004): 95

      The non-vintage Unico Reserva Especial (a 14536 bottle blend of the 1985, 1990 an 1991 vintages) is spectacular as this cuvée always tends to be. Made in the full-throttle Unico style, but aromatically more complex as well as slightly more evolved, it will drink well young yet age gracefully for another 20-25 years. It is similar in weight, texture and personality to the 1991 Unico but more evolved.

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      The Wine Advocate (2003): 96

      ...incredible...stunningly perfumed and truly majestic, the likes of which are found nowhere else on earth. Notes of graphite, smoke, coconut, cherry liqueur, creme de cassis, spice box, licorice, and caramel emerge from the sweet, staggeringly complex perfume. There is fabulous concentration, no hard edges, an opulent full-bodoed palate, and a finish that lasts for 65+ seconds. This is awesome stuff !

    • Wine Spectator

      NV ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      Wine Spectator (2001): 93+ points : Outstanding

      (Lot 0017/00)...This fabulous, youthful effort exhibits jammy blackberry, cherry, mineral, smoke, cedar, and new oak

      aromas as well as flavors. Full-bodied, dense, and concentrated, with great purity in addition to stature, this Reserva

      Especial can be drunk now, but ideally needs another 2-3 years of cellaring. It should age for 2-3 decades.

    • International Wine Cellar

      NV ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      International Wine Cellar (2001): 91 + Points

      [2001 Edition] Full, bright ruby. Aromatic, sweet aromas of raspberry, plum syrup, cherry , minerals, spice cake, smoked meat and tar. Penetrating flavor of dark fruit syrup. A very powerful wine with grip of steel owing to its almost painful acidity. Almost tart on the back end. Will this harmonize with extended bottle aging or will the wine always carry an edge of acicity ?

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      The Wine Advocate (2000): 93 Points

      (Lot 25)...This is the only non-vintage Reserva Especial Unico that was released in 1999. There are 14,000 bottles of this blend of 1970, 1985, and 1990, all top quality vintages for Vega Sicilia. A classic, it boasts a dark ruby color, and sweet, creamy, oaky notions intermixed with jammy black raspberry, cassis, and berry aromas. As the wine sits in the glass, roasted herbs, coffee, and floral scents make an appearance. Dense, full-bodied, and superbly concentrated with velvety tannin, low acidity, and nicely integrated wood, this is a superb, complex, delicious effort that can be drunk now as well as over the next 15-20 years.

    • The Wine Advocate

      NV ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      The Wine Advocate (1998): 96 Points; Extraordinary.

      "Profound; outrageously complex and rich. A knock-out nose jumps from the glass, offering aromas of kirsch, black cherries, currants, toast, spice, licorice and intriguing floral scents. Full-bodied, with fabulous concentration and ripeness, as well as a multi-layered, hedonistic display of fruit and glycerine, this is a terrific wine that has obviously been made from a blend of fabulous raw materials. It should drink beautifully for another two decades." [Lot 0196]

    • NV ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL
      Wine Vault (1998): 97+ Points; Extraordinary.

      "This is a newer release of this special cuvee than the bottle reported on by Stephen Tanzer in his Vega Sicilia Vertical report in the International Wine Cellar in Issue #58, January/February, 1995. That bottling was supposed to be a blend of the 1959, 1960 and 1961 vintages. The current release is made up of wines from the 1968, 1970, 1981 and 1985 vintages. It is not too bad! The utterly profound, multi-dimensional nose explodes from the glass with scents of plummy fruit, mulberries, herb tones, hints of tobacco, exotic spices, orange rind, chocolate, and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is extremely long and complex, with layer upon layer of fruit and nuance, soft, melting tannins, and an incredibly long, long finish. Much more evolved than the 1968 or 1970 Unicos, the Reserva Especial should nonetheless continue at this magical summit for decades. Is it better than 1968 or 1970? No, just different. I would dearly love to have a stash of this wine in the cellar to protect the 1968 and 1970 from infanticide! 1997-2015." (J. Gilman)

    • International Wine Cellar

      2002 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      International Wine Cellar (2007): 89 points

      Ruby-red. Smoky cherry, plum and blackcurrant on the nose, with suave cigar box, tobacco and anise nuances. A supple, sweet midweight, with stylish red and dark berry flavors underscored by graphite and cured tobacco. There's ample concentration here to reward a few more years of aging but it's drinking very well right now. Pretty impressive in the context of the vintage.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2002 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2007): 92 points

      The 2002, from a supposedly average vintage, is purple in color with an expressive nose of pain grille, earth, herbs, lead pencil, and blackberries. It offers layers of ripe fruit, excellent depth and concentration, and enough stuffing to drink well for the next 10+ years.

    • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

      2001 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2006): 92 points

      Deep red. Wonderfully perfumed, sharply delineated aromas of fresh red berries, cherry, rhubarb, roasted coffee and vanillin oak. Supple, lush and sweet, with medium to full body, a complex array of red and dark fruit flavors, exotic spice accents and fine-grained but firm, youthful tannins. Finishes sweet and long, the tannins providing shape and grip but not intruding on the sweet, elegant fruit and tangy spice notes. There will be no Unico from this vintage so this producer's best fruit is in this bottling.

    • Wine Spectator

      1994 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2005): 96 points : Classic

      Still dark in color, with alluring aromas of blackberry, mineral and cigar box, this red shows a firm, fresh, balanced palate, with black cherry, vanilla, mineral and floral flavors that mingle over firm, well-integrated tannins and float onto a long finish. It's harmonious, lively and complex; not showy but with great beauty and character. Drink now through 2012.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1994 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2005): 98 points : Extraordinary

      This bodega has produced many profound wines, but the 1994 Unico Reserva may be the greatest vintage released since their legendary 1970 and 1968. A truly prodigious effort, it boasts an opaque ruby/purple color as well as a gorgeously sweet, expansive bouquet of sweet cherries interwoven with black currant, truffle, licorice, and scorched earth aromas. Full-bodied, potent, powerful, and well-delineated with crisp acidity, sweet but noticeable tannin, a multidimensional, expansive, layered palate feel, and a pure yet refreshing finish, it should be a wine for the history books. Anticipated maturity: now-2035.

    • International Wine Cellar

      1994 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      International Wine Cellar (2005): 95(+?) points : Extraordinary

      Full ruby-red. Knockout nose combines roasted blackberry, minerals, cedar, graphite and flowers; reminded me of a very ripe vintage of Chateau Lafite. Creamy and sweet, but with penetrating, perfectly integrated acids and a structure of steel. Powerful yet wonderfully elegant wine, with flavors of crushed redcurrant, minerals, flowers, chocolate and truffle. Finishes with great length and grip. An outstanding vintage for Unico, with the sheer acid structure and flavor intensity to go on in bottle for at least another two decades.

    • The Wine Advocate

      2000 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2005): 92 points : Outstanding

      The least expensive offering in Vega Sicilia's portfolio is the 2000 Valbuena. A considerable crop-thinning (about 40% of the yield was eliminated) resulted in a dark ruby/purple-colored wine offering a big, rich bouquet of creme de cassis, tobacco smoke, earth, herbs, and licorice. This ripe, fleshy, medium to full-bodied, lusty, heady 2000 can be consumed over the next 10-15 years.

    • International Wine Cellar

      2000 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      International Wine Cellar (2005): 90 points : Outstanding

      Bright medium ruby. Aromas of plum, mocha, tobacco and nutty oak. Sweet and round but firmly structured, with concentrated, ripe flavors of raspberry, redcurrant and tobacco enlivened by bright, harmonious acidity. No rough edges, even if the long, complex, sweetly tannic finish features some youthfully clenched flavors of cherry cola, sweet tobacco and herbs.

    • Wine Spectator

      1991 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2004): 91 points : Outstanding

      This plump red defies a poor vintage to offer black cherry, cedar and tobacco notes on a generous frame, with firm but not drying tannins and a spicy finish. It shows the flavors of maturity, but is a long way from decline. Drink now through 2009.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1999 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2004): 91

      A strong effort for Valbuena, the tight but elegant 1999 reveals crsp underlying acidity as well as firm tannin, medium body and pure black currant fruit, kirsch, new saddle leather, and sweet vanilla notes. Patience will be required. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2017.

    • Wine Spectator

      1999 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Spectator (2004): 90 points : Outstanding

      This fresh, lively red shows black cherry and cranberry flavors with sweet vanilla oak notes and floral and spice accents. Ripe tannins and fresh acidity keep it balanced. Drink now through 2010.

    • International Wine Cellar

      1989 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      International Wine Cellar (2003): 95 (+?) points

      Saturated dark, fresh red. Exotic dried fruit complicated by minerals, cedar, cigar box and nuts on the nose. Huge dense and solid, with great sappy redcurrant and wild strawberry sweetness buffered by powerful acids. With its huge concentration and extraordinary chewy extract, this has fruit of steel. The wine's explosive, extremely long finish and great thrust goes betond 99.99% of the world's wines.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1987 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2003): 92 points : Outstanding

      The renowned Unico (produced from 80-100 year old vines) is one of the world's most distinctive, singular wines. Always released late, it is incredibly fresh, and capable of 2-3 more decades of evolution. The 1987 Unico Reserva's opaque ruby/purple color is accompanied by a glorious perfume of sweet cherries, flowers, licorice, and toasty oak. Full-bodied, with tremendous brightness and texture as well as an elegant, long, head-turning finish, it is undoubtedly super juice. However, for the difference in price, readers might opt to purchase either the 1997 or 1998 Valbuena. Anticipated maturity for the 1987 Unico Reserva: now-2022.

    • Wine Enthusiast

      1987 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Enthusiast (2001): 90 Points

      One of the mysteries of Vega is how a wine released so late can be so fresh and vibrant. The '87 is no exception, featuring red raspberries and cherries counterbalanced by cedary oak. Focused, lean and dry, this vintage of Unico may turn out to be too elegant for its own good, but the delicately fruity, intricately wrought finish seems to go on and on.

    • International Wine Cellar

      1987 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      International Wine Cellar (2001): 94 Points

      Medium ruby. Sappy raspberry, game and spices on the nose. A wine of great verve and sweetness; lush and chewy but also urgent and sharply delineated. Bracing acids give this dense wine buns of steel. Wondeful expanding finish features strong but thoroughly ripe tannins. An outstanding vintage for this legendary wine.

    • International Wine Cellar

      1998 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      International Wine Cellar (2003): 92 (+?)

      Saturated ruby-red. Highly complex aromas of red berries, raspberry skin, minerals, truffle, coffee, cedar and game. Dense and thick but with terrific acidity and thrust; sharply delineated and gripping. Tangy flavors of red berries, minerals and smoked meat; as elegant as a great mature Bordeaux. Remarkably dense for the vintage but not at all heavy.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1997 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2003): 91

      ...reveals a deep, sweet nose of black fruits intermixed with earth, leather, smoke and fruit cake. There is sensational texture on the palate, seamlessly integrated tannin and acidity, and moderate quantities of oak. While young, it is already showing exceptionally well.

    • Wine Enthusiast

      1997 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Enthusiast (2001): 92 Points

      A wine of exceptional elegance that starts off with delicate floral aromas of violets or lilacs, then folds in black cherries, red raspberries and dried spices. Bright fruit flavors sing on the long finish. No Unico was made in this difficult vintage, so much of the juice that normally goes into Unico was used for this wine, while the wine that is normally Valbuena was sold off for distillation.

    • The Wine Advocate

      ribera del duero VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL (R.08 - B.90+91+96)
      The Wine Advocate (2003):

    • Wine Spectator

      ribera del duero VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - RESERVA ESPECIAL (R.12 - B.91+94+99)
      Wine Spectator (2003):

    • The Wine Advocate

      1990 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (2001): 94 points : Outstanding

      For a Unico, it exhibits a relatively unevolved style. A deep opaque plum/garnet color is accompanied by noticeable sweet toasty oak in the nose along with copious quantities of black cherry and cassis fruit. Extremely youthful, vigorous, and full-bodied, with notes of over-ripeness, low acidity, moderately high tannin, and a full-bodied, layered, concentrated personality. Give it another 3-4 years of cellaring; it should last for 25 years.

    • Wine Spectator

      1990 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (2000): 95 points : Cellar Selection

      Smooth and rich Spanish red, showing mature notes of coffee, cedar and earth, with a core of plum and prune flavors that builds on the palate, then lingers on the finish. It's firm, yet generous, ripe and balanced. Drink now through 2005.

    • International Wine Cellar

      1990 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      International Wine Cellar (1999): 90 Points; Outstanding

      Deep ruby-red. Explosive, warm aromas of redcurrants, black plums, chestnuts, tobacco and spice; mellow oak notes. Lush, dense and solidly structured; shows a distinctly more mineral character than the Valbuena, and less pliant, drier flavors. Soud acidity contributes to the impression of backbone and thrust. Finsihes with slightly dry tannins.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1970 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE), ARTIST LABEL
      The Wine Advocate (2001): 96 points : Extraordinary

      One of Vega Sicilia's distinctive practices is to release magnums of great vintages well after the wine's initial release. Magnums of the fabulous 1970 Unico Reserva Especial have just been released. This wine boasts an elegant, complex bouquet of cedar wood, blackberries, cherry liqueur, and vanilla. Opulently-textured, with fabulous unctuosity, vivaciousness, and vigor, superb ripeness, a full-bodied, super-concentrated attack as well as lush mid-palate and finish, this seamless classic can be drunk now, or cellared for two decades. This wine was brilliant from the 750 ml format, and is equally compelling from magnum.

    • Wine Spectator

      1995 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Spectator (2001): 94 - Highly recommended

      This powerful red is like a finely tuned race-car; energy under tight control. The fruit is vibrant, with blackberry and currant flavors, the tannins are muscular but well-integrated and the finish is clean. A brilliant success in a great vintage. Drink now through 2010.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1995 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (2001): 89

      A plum/ruby color is followed by aromas of sweet black fruits intermixed with licorice, earth, and spicy oak. Full-bodied, with excellent concentration, a juicy, layered texture, and fine purity, it is forward, plush, and best consumed within its first 10-12 years of life.

    • Wine Spectator

      1986 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (1999): 95 Points; Outstanding, Highly recommended

      Muscular but not overbearing, this big Spanish red marries ripe fuit and plenty of oak with a nice mix of plum, chocolate, licorice and spice flavors backed by firm, well-integrated tannins. Harmonious and long on the finish, it's stylish yet with traditional character. Drink now through 2008.

    • International Wine Cellar

      1996 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      International Wine Cellar (1999): 90 Points; Outstanding

      Dark ruby-red. Spicier, fresher aromas of slightly roasted plums, redcurrants, smoky oak, iron and beefsteak tomato. Dense and quite oak-spicy in the mouth, with a lusher texture [than the '95] as well as a more solid spine of acidity. Also much longer and cleaner on the finish, which features palate-caressing fine tannins.

    • Wine Spectator

      1993 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Spectator (1999): 89 points

      This elegant racehorse is showing age, but it's not tiring as it heads around the track. Its lean, crisp texture carries lively cherry, currant and cedar flavors, with firm but not overbearing tannins and a bright streak of acidity.

    • 1985 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Underground Wine Journal (1998): 18/20 Points; Outstanding.

      "Gorgeous floral-tinged scents of dried cherries, cedar and vanilla. Lovely, balanced and elegant, with good backbone, nuanced flavors of cedar, vanilla, dried cherries and spice, and a softly tannic finish."

    • Wine Enthusiast

      1981 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Enthusiast (1998): 97 Points; Superlative; Very Highly Recommended.

      "Saturated black-ruby appearance with a hint of garnet. Full-bodied. Highly extracted. Moderately tannic. Blackberries, plums, tar, brown spice. Full, lush and deep aromas lead to a sumptuous, rich palate with deeply extracted flavors that are well-knit through a lengthy finish, with some dry tannins in evidence. A solid wine that is extremely approachable now. Cellar Selection."

    • Wine & Spirits

      1981 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine & Spirits (1998): 96 Points; Extraordinary; Most Highly Recommended.

      There is only one Vega Sicilia, and the release of an exceptional vintage like the '81 Unico proves it. Grown at the historic 19th century estate, the wine is a blend of dry-farmed, old-vine Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec (and one percent white Albillo). The 1981, being a top year, was aged nine-and-a-half years in barrel and seven in bottle prior to release, and it will age for decades hence.

      Right now, it's completely impacted, revealing itself slowly under veils of flavor. As its complexities become unbound, the depth of Moorish spice holds tight to the concentrated fruit. It's a gorgeous thing, shimmering with all manner of spices. Bizet's Carmen in a bottle, and priced about the same as two tickets to the Met.

    • Wine Spectator

      1981 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (1998): 93 Points; Outstanding; Highly Recommended.

      4300 cases made. This beautiful red from Spain would put many a Bordeaux to shame. It's got a deep youthful color, alluring spice and cherry pie aromas and a supple yet concentrated palate with cherry, spice and tobacco flavors. The tannins are softening, yet will still match with food, and the finish is long and spicy. Drink now through 2005.

    • The Wine Advocate

      1980 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (1998): 90 Points; Outstanding.

      "Although this is an outstanding wine, it doesn't compare to the extraordinary '70 and '68. The 1980 is a spice and earth-driven example of Unico, with noteworthy black truffle, cherry, currant and oaky aromas that are followed by elegant, medium-bodied, spicy, mineral-like flavors with admirable levels of curranty fruit. Rich, long wine is ideal for drinking over the next 12-15 years."

    • 1974 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Philadelphia Inquirer (1998):

      "Finally, the legendary Vega Sicilias. Made from a blend of three Bordeaux grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec) and three local varieties (including a type of Tempranillo called Tinto Fino), Vega Sicilia's powerful and long-lived wines have attracted a cult following among oeno-cognoscenti. Valbuena (a second label to the Unico Reserva) is aged for five years. The Unico matures in wood for at least a decade. Both wines have heady and intoxicating woodsy aromas. The 1989 Vega Sicilia Valbuena is rich with herbs and seasonings. The 1974 Unico Reserva is more intense and compact, extraordinarily concentrated and thick, scented with tar and leather, and jammed with raisiny fruit. Finishes with a persistent aftertaste."

    • International Wine Cellar

      1970 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      International Wine Cellar (1998): 95+ Points; Extraordinary.

      "A deep, blackberry jam-colored wine that moves thickly in the glass. Youthful color; with no browning at the edges (like other vintages of Vega Sicilia). The big, spicy, complex nose, with notes of cedar and toast, is reminiscent of a great Bordeaux, but then there's also the tarry component that is Vega Sicilia's unmistakable signature. I also picked up violets, smoke, citrus and leather in the nose. On the palate, I was struck by the high acids, so typical of Vega Sicilia, that holds these old wines together. This heady, powerful wine still has firm tannins, but it is rich, very ripe and chocolatey, velvety and exotic." (Gerry Dawes)

    • 1970 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Australian Financial Review (1998):

      "The 1970 Unico is a miraculous wine by any standards--dark, stewy plums and dates, wet earth, massive fruit bound up in fine but grippy tannins. The crop level was just a few tons to the hectare and it spent an incredible five years in large old wood, followed by eleven years in old, smaller casks. You'd never know it--the color is still deep and impenetrable. The 1970 is sure to last as well, and age as divinely, as the 1942, which was still in excellent condition at the tasting--smoky, cassis and cedar-scented, a touch gamey, with succulent, crisp raspberry flavors. Other highlights were the 1983, 1975 and 1962."

    • 1970 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Yak Shaya's Wine Pages (Israel) (1998): 19/20; Extraordinary.

      My first taste of this unique wine, the Grange Hermitage' of Spain. Medium deep color. Clear and vibrant; no hint of aging! Burst of red fruit from the glass. Raspberries more than cherries. Very different from anything I've tasted. Not a trace of the secondary aromas so common in old wines. By smell alone it is very difficult to believe this is a 27-year-old nectar. It is said this wine is aged for ten years in barrels. If so none of the hard and astringent elements one would expect from such treatment affect the nose. Fantastic bouquet, but on the delicate rather than blockbuster side. Terrific taste! Again, nothing to be associated with mature old Bordeaux, Burgundy or Rhone. Silky and charming yet full of vigor. A true celebration on the palate. No rough edges, neither stinging acidity--a perfetto from start to finish. Very long and reverberating aftertaste attests to the many layers revealed on every sip. Medium-bodied, supremely well balanced wine. The only thing to hint at maturity is the inability to tell fruit from acidity from alcohol from tannins. As harmonious a wine as one can think of. Extraordinary! Unbelievably young' and a truly unique experience. At a fifth of the price I'd make it our house wine...

    • Wine Spectator

      1970 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (1995): 92 points

      A silky, seamless package of pleasure. Surprisingly dark color, then mature aromas of spice and cherry, with an elegant, soft palate impression that holds coffee, raisin and cherry flavors. It's balanced and long, with a slightly volatile character.

    • 1968 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Vault (1998): 97+ Points; Extraordinary.

      "This is a bigger, thicker, more powerful wine than the equally stupendous 1970. The profound nose explodes from the glass with scents of plum, cassis, chocolate, tobacco, herbs, leather, and plenty of sweet vanillin oak. Huge and thick with fruit on the palate, this super-charged wine is impeccably well-balanced, with fine focus, ripe tannins, and a long, complex, tidal wave of a finish. Simply said, this monumental wine is still not even remotely near its apogee. It is fabulous to drink now, but it is going to get even better. This is a wine of weight and presence similar to the 1947 Cheval Blanc! 1995-2035." (J. Gilman)

    • 1942 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Robin Garr's Wine Lover's Page (1998):

      A legendary release; great wine. It's a wonderfully mature bottle with a very sweet, Port-like, slightly Maderized character, but still full of life and delicious to drink. Consume it over the near term. (Florian Miguel Hermann)

    • 1994 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Robin Garr's Wine Lover's Page (1998): (2nd Review)

      Confirmed its outstanding potential, and I'm tempted to say--for now--that it's better than the very successful 1994 Pesquera Janus. It's the quintessence of the 1994 vintage, combining power, ripeness and amazing structure--a wonderful wine! (Florian Miguel Hermann)

    • Wine Enthusiast

      1992 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Enthusiast (1998): 95 Points; Exceptional; Very Highly Recommended.

      "Dark reddish ruby. Moderately full-bodied. Highly extracted. Moderately tannic. Brown spice, dried herbs, concentrated cherries. Bright, complex aromatics lead into a packed palate with great uplifting acidity and a lush, fruity center, supported by generous, soft tannins that give this a long, chewy finish. Quite irresistible now, but will develop with cellaring. Cellar Selection."

    • International Wine Cellar

      1992 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      International Wine Cellar (1998): 92+ Points; Outstanding.

      "Many people prefer the younger Valbuena to Vega Sicilia Unico itself. Very deep blackberry color. Complex, sweet fruit on the nose, with some Vega Sicilia tar and a green component. Starts out as a big mouthful of black cherry fruit, with a tannic, mouth-drying, green persimmon-like, oaky finish. But with air the wine opens up and shows tremendous complexity and intriguing notes of black fruits, spices and chocolate. I began by scoring the wine in the mid-80's, but it got better and better, especially alongside food. The recorked bottle was still drinking well the next day!" (Gerry Dawes)

    • Wine & Spirits

      1992 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine & Spirits (1998): 93 Points; Outstanding.

      "The breed of Vega Sicilia is apparent in the complex, spicy fruit on the finish and brilliant tannin management. Those tannins provide a fine texture to carry broad, deeply-flavored, plum-like fruit. Full and potent in the mouth, this has high notes of cassis and accents of leather. In the best Vega Sicilia fashion, this vintage is tight and compacted in its youth, while beautifully balanced for another ten years of bottle age. This legendary vineyard is moving into the modern world while holding on to the monumental character and quality of its wine."

    • Wine Spectator

      1992 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Spectator (1998): 88 Points; Excellent.

      "This ripe, lush red offers chocolate, plum and raspberry flavors, fresh and still lively. Youthful but drinking nicely, with enough concentration for food. 10,000 cases made."

    • 1992 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Wine Vault (1998): 92 Points; Outstanding.

      "The Valbuena five-year-old bottling, as is often the case, is in need of a few more years in the cellar. The potential for the '92 is unmistakably excellent, with a stunning bouquet of Lafite-like cigar box tones married to scents of ripe plums, chocolate, herbs and minerals. The oak treatment on this wine is very, very sophisticated. Medium-full, young and concentrated on the palate, with great balance, lovely incipient complexity, firm, but ripe tannins, and a long, suave finish. This needs five more "anos" in the cellar to reach its apogee, where it should cruise along beautifully for another decade or more. Great stuff. 2002-2015."

    • The Wine Advocate

      1991 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      The Wine Advocate (1998): 90 Points; Outstanding.

      "A rich, opulent, fleshy, jammy wine with a deep ruby/purple color, full body and gobs of sweet black cherry fruit intertwined with toasty new oak and spice. The wine is ripe, fleshy, expansive and ideal for drinking now and over the next decade."

    • 1991 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, VALBUENA 5° ANO
      Underground Wine Journal (1998): 17/20 Points; Excellent.

      "Deeply scented, with plums, chocolate, spice and tobacco. The similar flavors, with notes of vanilla, are rich and lush, with good backbone and balanced tannins. A delight!"

    • The Wine Advocate

      1976 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      The Wine Advocate (1995): 93 points : Outstanding

      The 1976 Unico Riserva offers a smoky, roasted nose indicative of a hot, dry growing season. There are copious quantities of jammy black-cherries and sweet, toasty, vanillin oak in the wine's multifaceted, intriguing bouquet. Sweet, lush, opulent fruit cascades across the palate, exhibiting low acidity, generous amounts of glycerin and alcohol, and layers of richness. This full-bodied, large-scaled wine is within 2-3 years of full maturity; it should keep for 20+ years.

    • Wine Spectator

      1979 ribera del duero BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA, UNICO - COSECHA (VINTAGE)
      Wine Spectator (1990): 95 points

      Sappy aromas and flavors detract from an otherwise nicely built, smooth and buttery wine.