The rain started falling sometime between the lentil soup and the milk-fed lamb. In the valley surrounding the Duero River in northwestern Spain—the Ribera del Duero—a storm can roll in over a hillside without warning and stain the sky black in minutes. When it happened, I was sitting inside the miniature palace that contains the tasting room, kitchen, and executive dining area of the Vega Sicilia winery, which makes some of the best red wines in the world. I was drinking and talking between gapes at a Goya on the wall that may well have been an original. Suddenly, I remembered that I had left the windows of my rental car open. I would have gotten up from the table to close them, but in front of me were two vintages of Vega Sicilia's top-of-the-line Unico, the 1974 and the 1970. The former was intensely flavored and extraordinary; the latter, which the winery released only in March of 1995, after it had spent nearly a quarter-century aging in both barrel and bottle, was the finest wine I have ever tasted—dark, huge, and fruity, with a complexity on the palate that I had never before encountered. Let it rain, I decided. I wasn't about to leave the table.