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FICOFI: Vega-Sicilia Unico 2008 2007 2005 

July 31, 2017

FICOFI upped the tempo again in Singapore with another informal event, a tasting of the wines of Vega-Sicilia, in particular its latest release, the 2005 Unico, amazingly twelve years after its harvest. Vega Sicilia really doesn’t need any introduction, thanks to the untiring efforts of its CEO Pablo Alvarez who has been associated with the estate since the 1980s. 20170727_183830Although the winery, located in Valbuena de Duero in the Basque country of Spain, was founded back in 1864, its two most famous reds – the Valbuena No.5 and the Unico – were only first produced in 1915. Eighty percent of the plantings in Vega-Sicilia comprises tempranillo, with the remainder split between cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec. The Unico, of course, is famous for its long and complex ageing process prior to release, spending about 6 years in wood (a mix of new and used 225-litre French and American oak) after its fermentation in wooden vats plus another 3 years in bottle, while the Valbuena Tinto No.5 is normally aged for 5 years between wood and bottle after its fermentation in stainless steel tanks. For this tasting at the Four Seasons, Singapore, on 27 July 2017, FICOFI has also generously laid on the 2007 and 2008 to complete the mini-vertical, doing likewise for the Valbuena Tinto No.5 where its latest release, the 2012, was offered along with 2011 and a more mature 2004.


2012 Valbuena Tinto No.5. Made from 100% tempranillo. Bright purple. Very lively on the nose with aromas of raspberries, mulberries and a dash of wild berries, its feminine character reinforced by a palate that is bright, open and fleshy, layered with an exciting spectrum of flavours that lent some racy undertones, gentle in acidity, displaying good linearity throughout its length, finishing with minty tones. Excellent and drinking well. A favourite with many.

2011 Valbuena Tinto No.5. Made from 100% tempranillo. Darker in colour and tone. More substantial in proportion with stronger tones of dark currants and black fruits amidst stern minerals and a hint of undergrowth. Well structured and infinitely masculine. Not yielding much now, turning a tad sullen towards the close, staying this way throughout the evening even when I revisited a fresh pour much later. A bit tough now but may well turn out to be a dark horse. Best to lay down for another 5-7 years.

2004 Valbuena Tinto No.5. A blend of 90% tempranillo with a sprinkling of merlot. Displaying an attractive tint of purple, this wine is singing, open with a delicious floral fragrance, medium-bodied and fleshy, imbued with good concentration of bright red fruits and currants with fine detail and acidity, just a tad short. Superb value for those who had bought at its initial release.

20170727_1822172005 Vega-Sicilia Unico. Deep dark red, highly perfumed, exuding notes of abundant dark berries and red currants from fruit superbly caught at optimal ripeness, quite open and vibrant with exciting verve, yet utterly seamless between its layers and subtle acidity that imparted a distinct feminine poise, displaying great linearity and fine intensity. Quite outstanding.

2008 Vega-Sicilia Unico. Deep ruby, opening up with a lifted fragrance of red currants,  camphor and red plums. Bright, open and fleshy with fine acidity, turning a bit sharp towards its firm minerally finish. Far from ready but I think this is truly a hidden gem that will turn out to be highly rewarding. Lovely.

2007 Vega-Sicilia Unico. Poured from magnum. This wine displays a stern shade of red, appreciably leaner than its preceding counterparts, imparting some red fruits and appropriate fragrance but missing in charm and layering though it manages to compensate by finishing with good length and fine intensity.


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