Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Tinto 1999
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.
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 1999 Unico is a blend of 90% Tinto Fino and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 21-months in large wooden vats, twenty months in new barrel, seventeen months in semi-new barrels and then 24 months in large wooden casks. The harvest was interrupted by downpours and did not finish until November 16. It has a very intense, austere bouquet with blackberry, cedar, granite and a touch of dried orange peel. It is tightly coiled but unfurls beautifully in the glass, though it retains its rather aloof personality. The palate is medium-bodied with a rounded mulberry and raspberry leaf-infused entry, with bay leaf and graphite underneath. It is linear, focused and precise. It is very harmonious, almost Claret like with great length on the finish that offers a sorbet-like freshness. 96,159 bottles produced. Drink 2016-2030+.
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A regal variety of incredible purity and precision...
A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling, and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes in New York.
In the Glass
Riesling is low in alcohol, with high acidity, steely minerality, and stone fruit, spice, citrus, and floral notes. At its ripest it leans towards juicy peach and nectarine, and pineapple, while in cooler climes it is more redolent of meyer lemon, lime, and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of gasoline.
Riesling is very versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice), and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.