Vega Sicilia, Spain’s “first growth”; and most prestigious wine estate, is located in Ribera del Duero, beside a highway east of Valladolid. The estate covers around 1000 hectares, of which 230 – 250 are under vines. It was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of local grapes (Cab. Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec) and planted them, together with Spain’s signature grape Tinto Fino (clone of Tempranillo) in the arid Ribera soils.
The winery begun building its formidable reputation after 1903 under the ownership of Antonio Herrero, winning a number of awards, and enjoying an international distribution. The estate changed hands several more times before its acquisition by the current owners, the Alvarez family, in 1982.
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.
85 hectares in total, comprising 35 hectares around the winery, and a further 50 hectares dedicted to Alion within the historic Vega Sicilia vineyards.Vinification and ageing :
Unlike Vega Sicilia, where vinification is a hybrid of traditional and modern techniques, Alion is made in the modern Bordeaux cru classé style, using state-of-the-art equipment and lots of new oak.
Fermentation and Malolactic take place in stainless steel vats.
In January following the vintage, the wine is transfered into new French oak barrels from the Nevers forest, where it is aged for a further 12 to 14 months. After bottling, the wine is given one more years ageing at the property before release onto the market.