1989 Vega Sicilia "Unico" Ribera del Duero

SKU #1015409 95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated dark, fresh red. Exotic dried fruits 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 extraordinarily chewy extract, this has fruit of steel. The wine's explosive, extremely long finish and great thrust go beyond 99.99% of the world's wines.  (8/2003)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1989 Unico, a blend of 80% Tinto Fino and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon picked early from 30th September, has a gorgeous, minty bouquet with blackberry, a touch of blueberry, crushed violets and a little strawberry jam. It blossoms with aeration in the glass. The palate is smooth and rounded on the entry: caressing and voluminous in the mouth. The fruit is very pure with notes of strawberry, Tiptree raspberry jam, marmalade and quince. It has great weight towards the finish with orange cordial and a hint of mango. However, it does not have the tension or focus of the 1994 or the 1996. 105,860 bottles produced. Drink now-2035.  (8/2012)

90 points Wine Spectator

 This generous red is deeply colored and lively, with plum, prune, tobacco and mineral flavors supported by well-integrated tannins. Balanced, and may still improve.  (11/2003)

Jancis Robinson

 Still dark with evolution at the rim. Heady nose with balsamic and putty notes though not especially rich. Lovely rich nose. Velvety. Smells as though it’s ready to drink! On the palate it’s still slightly dry and austere but is obviously a very serious wine. Thick and slightly dusty on the finish - a very dry vintage? Acidity still dominates. - End of a phase of potential. This was served before the 1990 because it is still to unfold. Not quite ready to drink, they think. (Like 1981, a very good vintage.) Released in 2003.  (8/2012)

K&L Notes

Tiny yields, long cellaring (10-plus years) and a 20% share of Cabernet Sauvignon are the hallmarks of the Tempranillo-based Unico.

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Price: $399.99
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- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.


- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.

Ribera del Duero