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 :
Alión comes from a careful selection of terroirs dotted across the very best areas of the Ribera del Duero DO. These soils, which complement each other, along with the same winemaking process as Vega Sicilia, have given rise to wines with a firm structure.
In this drier and warmer vintage, the contribution of oak was reduced, using 72 % new barrel, 18 % used barrel and 10 % concrete, with a view to working on the tannin texture, on the one hand, and the freshness and journey of the wine, on the other.