Alion 2008 0,75
Robert Parker - 95/100
If I was asked to hold up a bottle of what modern Ribera del Duero should taste like and what is should aspire to, the 2008 Alion would be the one in my hand. It has more intensity and volume on the nose when compared directly with the 2007. Tasted in February 2012, and then in January 2013, it remains a fabulous expression of Ribera del Duero. It boasts of heavenly bouquet of black plum, crushed violets and tobacco that soar from the glass, while displaying a level of delineation that would serve a lesson to many of its peers. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, silky-smooth tannins that belie the structure underneath. The acidity lends the 2008 a little more edginess than the 2007, while the finish has a wonderful sense of symmetry and focus. World class. Drink 2016-2025+. Alion should need no introduction. Owned by the Alvarez family of Vega Sicilia, the 85 hectare estate included 35 hectares around the winery and 50 hectares with Vega Sicilia itself. Debuting in 1991, the wine is sourced from 20-year-old Tinto Fino that undergoes a modern style of winemaking, using state-of-the-art technology and maturation in Nevers French oak barrels for 12 to 14 months. Pablo Alvarez describes Alion as “a wine somewhere between Ribera del Duero and a Medoc in style.”
Alion 2011 0,75
Robert Parker 94/100
The 2011 Alion is pure Tempranillo from vineyards averaging 25 to 30 years of age, harvested early (second half of September) matured for 16 months in new Nevers barrels (that’s a difference with Vega Sicilia; for Alion all wood is French). It is an exuberant, ripe Alion, with hedonist’s aromas that jump out of the glass. Winemaker Javier Ausas tells me he likes the wines when they are young and showy like this one. It is indeed a showy vintage, with aromas of violets, molasses, cereals and a whiff of malt whisky. We tasted the wine a little warm, but that does not benefit the wine, which should be served at 15-16 C and allowed to warm up and open up in the glass. It’s also quite smoky, with reminiscences of very good barrels, black aromas, violets, black olives and fresh plums. The palate is tannic with lactic and warm flavors. This is a very exuberant, showy vintage for Alion, and here I tend to agree with Ausas: even though this has plenty of stuffing to age I’d drink it young in its exuberant phase.
Alion 2012 0,75
Robert Parker 95/100
2012 has to be one of the best recent vintages of Alión. This 2012 Alión is pure Tempranillo from vineyards averaging 25 to 30 years of age, harvested at the end of September and matured for 14 months in new French oak barrels. The nose is much more elegant than the Pintia from Toro (I tasted them together), still very fresh and primary but with a special brightness of fruit, shiny cherries, raspberries, something effervescent, open and somehow exuberant. The palate is quite round, much more polished, with some notes of dark chocolate, some subtle volatility, elegant, fresh and long. It has the balance and stuffing to develop nicely in bottle. Superb balance, Ribera character, clean, modern classic.