Vega Sicilia "Unico" Reserva Especial Ribera del Duero (2013 release) (Previously $475)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Release (I could write the same note for all three wines) has a beautifully complex bouquet, a silky-smooth texture, elegance, and a long, pure finish. It should drink well for another 25 years. ...On the occasion of my visit in May 2010, the three Reserva Especials already in bottle and awaiting release were tasted side by side. They are identified (for the purposes of this review only) as the 2013 Release, the 2012 Release, and the 2011 Release. 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. (JM)
In the Spain of yesteryear, when Cervantes wrote his masterpiece and gauchos roamed the countryside on horseback, wine was made according to tradition in two styles. Each Bodega issued two wines with each harvest: that of the current year and another without a specific vintage, which was called "Reserva Especial." This second was a blend of wines from the best harvests, and was widely considered to be better, more interesting and complex than the vintage wine. Like the vintage Unico, the Especial is not sold until ten years after the harvest of the youngest wine, following aging in barrel and bottle.