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Very ripe with plum, spice and dried-flower aromas, as well as chocolate, fresh flowers and sandalwood. Coffee and hints of meat. Sort of decadent. Full-bodied with round, creamy tannins and an intense, juicy feel. Unique cedar and walnut undertones. So delicious now, but one for the future, too.James Suckling | 98 JSThe Único released in 2021, 10 years after the harvest, is the 2011 Único, selected from 40 of their 210 hectares of vineyards. 2011 is a concentrated and ripe vintage, and they selected 95% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon that were cooled in a cold room for 24 hours before being sorted; the bunches and grapes macerated at 9 to 10 degrees Celsius for three to four days, and then it was inoculated with a pied de cuve to ferment with pumping overs. Malolactic was in stainless steel, and the wine was put through a long aging, 10 years between oak and bottle, using new and used French and American oak barrels and 20,000-liter oak vats. For Vega Sicilia, 2011 was a fresher year than 2010, not the common idea about those vintages in Ribera del Duero. The wine has a developed nose with some notes of ripe black fruit, meat and underbrush, somewhat herbal and perfumed. There is something about the nose of the Únicos that I cannot quite describe but is quite distinct, and it’s in this vintage and also in the Reserva Especial. 88,288 bottles, 3,505 magnums, 318 double magnums, 60 Imperial and 3 Salmanazar were produced. The wine was bottled in June 2017.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPDeep, shimmering ruby. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe black and blue fruits, vanilla, pipe tobacco, exotic spices, cola and potpourri. Deeply concentrated and energetic on the palate, offering smoke-laced black currant, cherry liqueur, spicecake and mocha flavors that display outstanding clarity and pick up a candied violet nuance on the back half. Polished, steadily building tannins frame the finish, which hangs on with outstanding, mineral- and floral-driven tenacity.Vinous Media | 96 VMA challenging vintage of Unico, this grew out of a hot season in Ribera del Duero that produced a stalwart, powerful wine. The warmth of the season shows in the initial scents of Moroccan spices and flamed orange zest, the structure powerful, muscular and aggressive when you first pull the cork. Give it time, measured in days, and the layers begin to show, the somber black fruit yielding notes of red, opening to refinement and, ultimately, elegance and restraint. It’s a grand wine with delicacy that carries through into the lasting flavors. A week after the bottle was opened, the wine is completely transformed, its unveiled freshness suggesting decades of life ahead.Wine & Spirits | 96 W&SThis concentrated, harmonious red packs in a lot of flavor, with plum, mountain herb, leather and spice notes woven together with cedar and vivid mineral elements tracing along the finish. The tannins are nicely integrated, with good balance and finesse overall. Tinto Fino and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2031. 8,350 cases made, 128 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 95 WSVibrant primary aromas of roses, oranges and fresh herbs lead into a wine full of redcurrant freshness. While 2011 is a more concentrated vintage, the wine is impressively elegant and delicate. Can be enjoyed soon for its structure, yet it will undoubtedly improve with age.Decanter | 95 DEC
The current 2016 Jesús Yllera is floral and perfumed and is evolving nicely and absorbing the oak, coming through as both elegant and powerful, with fully developed flavors and a polished palate. It’s sleek and balanced. 145,000 bottles were filled in July of 2018.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RP
I tasted three vintages of the pink clarete, starting with the 2017 Pícaro del Águila Clarete. It was produced with a field blend of red and white grapes, approximately 35% Tempranillo, 35% Albillo Mayor and the rest a mixture of many different varieties (Garnacha, Bobal, Bruñal, Monastrell, Tempranillo Gris, other Albillos, Garnacha Blanca, Pirules, Jaén, Moscatel, Malvasías...) from different old vines in the village of La Aguilera. It’s a wine with aromas of a white and the soul of a red, really different from a rosé. It fermented slowly in oak casks for eight to nine months in a very cold underground cave and matured in cask for some 23 months. Despite the warm and low-yielding year (2017 was a year of terrible spring frost in the region), the wine keeps a moderate alcohol and very healthy pH. This has already developed the beautiful spicy perfume that makes me think of the rosé from López de Heredia. The 2017 is open and seems to have developed a little faster. The wine is balanced and tasty, without the chalky and fresh sensation of the 2019, perhaps a little like the 2012 (the first vintage released). Even if this is developing a little faster, the color is very stable. Even a vintage like this should drink well for a decade. 9,676 bottles and 12 magnums were filled in September 2019.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RPOrange-pink color. Aromas of sour cherries, orange zest, dried lemon and salted almonds. It’s medium-to full-bodied with bright acidity and phenolic texture. Concentrated, smoky and toasted layers. Interestingly firm and oaky for a rosé. More like a light red. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 92 JS
The brightness and intensity here is fantastic with density and firmness that is most impressive. Squared-off tannins give this classicism and beauty. Full body. Extremely long and powerful. One to watch.James Suckling | 97-98 JSDark, bright-rimmed purple. Powerful red and dark berry preserve and cherry cola scents are complemented by exotic spice, incense and floral oil notes. Sappy and densely packed, offering palate-staining black raspberry, cherry liqueur, violet pastille and spicecake flavors braced by a core of juicy acidity. Youthfully chewy tannins build steadily on a strikingly long, penetrating finish that leaves behind smoky mineral and juicy dark berry notes.Vinous Media | 97 VMI also tasted the 2017 Pingus, which had a tough competition with the bottled 2016 and a barrel sample of the 2018 (and the fermenting 2019, but that doesn’t really count). 2017 was a weird vintage for the zone, as the year was marked by one spring frost that decimated the crop and completely changed the balance of the year. In 2007, they put a windmill in one of the plots, and although the plot was not able to escape the frost, it was not as acute as it was in the Flor de Pingus vineyards, where they lost up to 40% of the crop. At the Pingus vineyards, they lost some 25% of the grapes. They started the élevage in used barriques, where they wine matured for 12 months, and then moved the wine to larger barrels so they could extend the aging. There are alternate sensations of ripeness and herbal aromas. You can see a little bit of the tannic style of a concentrated year (1995, 2004, 2014), which is very different from fluid years like 2016 or 1996, with a rustic Ribera character. They saved the vintage with their knowledge of their vineyards, whereas in the past, a vintage like this could have been a disaster. Sometimes wines like this can have an unexpected development in bottle... 5,700 bottles were filled in July 2019.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RP
The 2018 Pícaro del Águila Clarete is riper, comes from a cooler and slow-ripening year and had a shorter élevage, 16 months in French oak barrels. 2018 is one of the greatest vintages in the zone in recent years but perhaps not as fresh as 2016 was. It was a textbook harvest, and all the clarete was bottled without malolactic to keep the vibrant acidity. This combines power and elegance, and it’s still young and only starting to develop the perfume that, to me, is the giveaway for this wine, which I found when tasting the 2017 next to this. This is a very pretty and pleasant wine, tasty and easy to drink. A crowd-pleaser. 9,821 bottles and 456 magnums were filled in February 2020.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93+ RPIn a distant corner of Ribera del Duero, Dominio del Aguila is producing wines of exceptional finesse. This clarete, a variety-hunter’s delight, also including Bobal and Tempranillo Gris. It is excitingly fresh and textured. No simple rosado – this is a wine to savour. Drinking Window 2021 - 2027.Decanter | 93 DEC
2017 was a low-yielding year, so I also tasted the 2018 Reserva, their flagship red wine that wants to be a representation of the village of La Aguilera—fine, serious and elegant. It’s 95% Tempranillo with the remaining grapes found interplanted in their oldest vineyards at an average of 880 meters in altitude on limestone, clay and sandy soils. All the clusters ferment together with indigenous yeasts in concrete, where they are foot trodden, and malolactic was carried out very slowly (11 months) in oak barrels where the wine matured for a total of 27 months. It has a somewhat shy nose but is very elegant. The wine was recently bottled, and that can make it a little closed and subtle, and it clearly improves with air as it sits in the glass. It’s still young, and the palate reveals lots of energy; the flavors are very pure and the wine precise and delineated. The tannins are very fine and provide for a chalky texture and an almost salty twist in the finish. This is very in line with the 2016. 15,250 bottle and 101 magnums produced. It was bottled in February 2021.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RP
Dark ruby violet-colored in the glass, this wine has enticing aromas of orange peel, milk chocolate and black raspberry. Plush tannins and bright acidity wake up your mouth to flavors of ripe cherry, cranberry, anise frond and dried lavender.Wine Enthusiast | 97 WEA fragrant version, with black licorice and toast accents to the baked cassis and blackberry fruit flavors. Rich and expressive, without being weighty, layering the tang of balsamico acidity and supple tannins with the expressive profile. Reveals a waft of medicinal herbs on the finish. Drink now through 2028. 20,000 cases made, 7,500 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 92 WSDusted oak spices with a mixture of tarry black plums and blue fruit. Anise and minty chocolate, too. Full-bodied on the palate with very tight but creamy tannins and a long, spicy finish. Drinkable now if you decant, but much better in two to three years.James Suckling | 92 JS
The bottled 2020 Pingus has settled, and the strong Mediterranean accent that was quite strong early on seems to have calmed down. The wine shows more of the serious Pingus character and is harmonious, balanced and elegant, perhaps because of the time it spent in oak vat (starting this year, it is not only in barrique). It feels very complete and intense but without weight or heaviness, and the fruit shows very clean and focused. Peter Sisseck compared it with the 2000, a wine that for him transcends the vintage; it showcases the balance (wines like 1996, 2000, 2012, 2016 and 2018). The quality of the tannins is stunning, which make the wine very elegant and balanced, and it has good freshness (even some red fruit!). This is exceptionally good, but somehow my heart didn’t beat like with the wines he compared them with... 7,500 bottles were filled in July 2022.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RPIntense yet subtle aromas of crushed stone, dried violets and sweet berries such as blackberries. Ink undertones. Full-bodied and very powerful with black chocolate, hazelnut and lovely tannins that go on for minutes. Bitter chocolate at the end with hints of coffee. Harmonious and structured. Needs four to five years to open, but will last beautifully for decades. Try after 2027.James Suckling | 98 JSA harmonious, medium- to full-bodied red, with pleasing tension and drive as well as depth to the flavors of ripe black raspberry and black plum fruit, with tea leaf, iron and smoke, white pepper and bay leaf notes. There’s a sense of effortless grace to this wine until firm, fine tannins emerge on the chalky finish -- a reminder of its quiet power. Drink now through 2033. 600 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WS
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