Alión is a solid wine, and is the height of expression of the tinto fino grape ripened in the sun and intelligently made into wine. Its color is concentrated, dark with a luminous and seductive edge, typical of its youth and seasoned by the wood. The aroma is unveiled with an intensity that is not very frequent in the wines from the Ribera del Duero designation of origin. It appears with hints of roast from the grape and top-quality wood. On the palate, the sweetened tannins of the concentrated black fruits blend with the dry creamy tannins of the French oak. It is full of flavor, strong, fleshy and unfolds a truly suggestive range of tastes.
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
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About Ribera del Duero
(rib-EHR-ah del dwehr-oh)
Ribera del Duero is located in Spain's Castilla y León region, just a 2-hour drive north of Madrid. While winemaking in this area goes back more than 2000 years, it was in the 1980s that 9 wineries applied for and were granted Denominación de Origen (D.O.) status. Today, more than 300 wineries call Ribera del Duero home, including some of Spain's most iconic names.
Ribera’s main grape variety, Tempranillo, locally known as Tinto Fino, is perfectly suited to the extreme climate of the region, where it must survive scorching summers and frigid winters. Low yields resulting from conscientious tending to old vines planted in Ribera's diverse soils types, give Ribera wines a distinctive depth and complexity not found in other Tempranillos. Rich and full-bodied, Ribera del Duero wines pair well with roast meats and aged cheeses.
The third largest country in production, Spain ranks first in land under vine. Diversity and innovation are the key factors bringing Spain back into the world wine market.
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.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most 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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.