Since its establishment in 1864, Bodegas Vega Sicilia has been regarded as the pinnacle of Spanish wineries. The winery has garnered global recognition for Ribera del Duero, a region in northern Spain that was once overshadowed by the more renowned Rioja. Some credit Vega Sicilia's unwavering dedication to quality for elevating Ribera del Duero to its rightful status as one of the world's premier wine regions.
Of these vineyards, 40 hectares are solely reserved for the production of Unico, which undergoes an extensive aging process lasting at least a decade in both new and used 225-liter French and American oak barrels, as well as 22,000-litre wooden vats. This complex and fascinating winemaking method imbues the wine with countless nuances, definitions, texture, and depth over time, resulting in timeless vintages.
Unico has maintained its signature style since its inception, with production following a similar process. However, in the last two decades, the wine has undergone changes: Bordeaux grapes have been reduced, and oak aging shortened in favor of bottle aging.
Unico's recent vintages primarily use Tempranillo (90-97%) with a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon (3-10%), though the exact proportions vary annually. The grapes undergo a strict selection process, destemming, and indigenous yeast fermentation in wooden vats, moved using gravity.
Unico's defining characteristic is its lengthy and intricate maturation process. Previously, aging times varied, but since the 1980s, they have become more uniform, with approximately ten years of aging (six in oak and four in bottle). After fermentation, the wine matures in small oak barrels (50% new French, 50% one to four-year-old American) for 12 to 24 months, followed by large old oak vats (22,000 liters) for four to five years before bottling and aging for an additional three to five years.