Showin’ some fang for this bold, dark Spanish wine. Cuz I’m edgy like that. Black cherries (both fresh and dried), cassis, macerated black fruit, wood, red flowers, and charcuterie on the nose. Black cherries, cassis, figs, and wood on the palate with a dark cocoa dusting.
a/n: This came out of nowhere, but I enjoyed it and I hope you do too. @ my wine buddy : I hope you like this one ;)
Feedback, as always, is needed and will be very much appreciated. Leggo!
smoothed non existent wrinkles on your dress, taking notice of slightly wet
skin of your palms. This place was way too extravagant for a business dinner,
but maybe that is why your, hopefully, sponsor-to-be chose it. That is - to
show you, what kind of restaurant he’d like to stand behind, since you were
here to pitch him yours. The fact that this wealthy gentleman agreed to hear
you out - someone with close to no experience in restaurant business - was a
miracle on its own. His name alone made you nervous and this place just added
up to your anxiousness.
We love Spanish wines for its slightly oxidized character and old world charms. Many vino sessions were conducted with wines from different regions, where Spanish wines often takes the prize without being overpriced. Spanish wines has always been treated as my “great for value” option, and I never had a bottle which is priced amongst the same range as Bordeaux First Growths. When we heard that there was a wine tasting of the legendary Spanish estate, Bodega Vega Sicilia, we jumped at the chance to learn more about Ribera del Duero and drink some serious (and pricey) wines!
Vega Sicilia is located beside a highway east of Valladolid in Ribera del Duero, and its wine, Unico, is considered as probably the best wine of Spain. In 1864, Don Eloy de Lecanda intended to emulate Bordeaux on his estate at the Pago de la Vega Santa Cecilia y Carrascal. Bringing back vine cuttings of Cab Sau, Malbec and Merlot from Bordeaux, he planted these vines, but soon discovered that Tinto Fino, the local name for the Tempranillo grape, can be nurtured to perfection in its native environment.
Ribera del Duero is a land of extremes. Biting winters, sun-bleached summers and high altitudes work hand-in-hand with clay, silt and limestone to create the perfect terroir for Tempranillo, which makes up 95 percent of the region’s wine production. The wines of Vega Sicilia are predominantly Tempranillo based, with a small percentage blend of either Cabernet Sauvignon for Unico, or Malbec and Merlot for Valbuena 5°.
We tasted Pitia 2007, Alion 2007, Valbuena 5° 2006, then finally, the Unico 2000. The last 2 wines were delicious, meaty with notes of raisin and chocolate. The Valbuena was very gutsy, with an alcoholic punch like vodka. The Unico was much more creamier, probably due to the longer aging period, where it was oxidized, yet full of volatile acidity and dried fruit flavours. The minerality added much to the finish of the wine, and from what I heard, this wine could be cellared for another 30 plus years.
The thing that was most interesting for me in these wines was in terms of the wine production, where prolonged barrel ageing is carried out in the winery before its release. For example, the Valbuena 5° 2006 took 5 years in the winery before its release, while the Unico 2000 was released after 10 years. The winemaker of Vega Sicilia decides the release date of the wine, which sometimes takes more than 20 years depending on the vintage, before it becomes available on the shelf, ensuring that the wine style is to the satisfaction of both winery and consumer.
Since we live in Hong Kong, we don’t really get to drink much of Spanish stuff in this franco-vino dominated scene. Most of the times, we buy French wines from shops with recent vintages, which are most likely way too tannic and young for enjoyment. It is a pity, especially for those not looking for something to cellar, but maybe for a bottle to celebrate with dinner that day, to have to shell out big bucks for a wine that is not ready to drink. If perchance, you want splurge to on a nice bottle of red, skip the disappointment of a young Bordeaux and try these aged Spanish wines for a change, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5° Reserva Especial 2006, Ribera Del Duero, Spain 2006 $1258 GDV Vega-Sicilia Unico Gran Reserva 2000, Ribera del Duero, Spain $2680 GDV
This is a clear, bright, medium garnet color wine with tawny hues and some tears on the glass. Clean on the nose with medium+ intensity of aromas suggesting violet, sour cherry, strawberry jam, cranberry, prune, wet leaves, black pepper and vanilla. Fully developed. Dry on the palate with medium acidity, high ripe and fine-grained tannins, medium alcohol, medium+ body and medium+ flavor intensity displaying violet, sour cherry, strawberry jam, cranberry, prune, wet leaves, black pepper and vanilla. Medium+ length with burnt fruit aftertaste. Very good quality wine with balance between fruit and oak expression, some fruit concentration and complexity and medium+ length. Good to drink now, but could last another 3-5 years.