Bodegas y Vinedos Alion 2003
Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
The Wine Advocate - "The good news is that the 2003 Alion is even better than the 2002. It has a similar personality but with more depth and concentration as well as structure. The ripe tannins suggest much more will be revealed with another 6-8 years in the bottle. It will drink well for 15+ years thereafter."
Bodegas y Vinedos Alion Winery
Alion was launched with the 1991 vintage by the famous Vega Sicilia estate. Inspired by the "modern classic" style of top Bordeaux, owner Pablo Alvarez wished to adapt this style of wine to the unique climate and soils in the western Ribera del Duero. Around half the grapes come from Vega Sicilia vineyards, the other half from Alion's own vineyards near Penafiel. The wine is made by Javier Ausas, head winemaker of Vega Sicilia, at Alion's dedicated, state-of-the-art winery. Alion is certainly a modern wine, an opulent and seductive 100% Tempranillo aged for 14 months in new French oak barrels, but - as one would expect from Vega Sicilia - there is nothing over-the-top about the wine. Not overripe, overextracted or overoaked, it is all about elegance, harmony, class...and sheer hedonistic pleasure View all Bodegas y Vinedos Alion Wines
About Ribera del DueroView a map of Ribera del Duero wineries (rib-EHR-ah del dwehr-oh)
Notable FactsThe wines of Ribera del Duero are mainly red – white wines here are not exported or revered. The reds come primarily from a variation of Tempranillo, called Tinto Fino or Tinto del Pais in this region. Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon are also used, but not so often. The best wines of the area are refreshing yet sturdy and complex, with an ability to age and mature gracefully.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.