A fine vintage from the scion of Spain's most classic wine
In the quarter century since its inception, Alion has become one of Spain's flagship wines. It was founded when Vega Sicilia, Spain's undisputed equivalent of a first growth, decided to create a new bodega to make wine in a more modern style; now Alion has stepped beyond the shadow of its illustrious founder and maintains a proud identity all its own.
True, the two bodegas have a lot in common. They sit side-by-side at Peñafiel in Ribera del Duero, and Alion took possession of a swathe of Vega's own vineyards when it was founded. But Alion is independently managed, and has trodden its own path. Unlike Vega, Alion uses 100% Tinto Fino (the local clone of Tempranillo) and eschews American oak in favour of French. The result is a wine more Bordeaux-like in style than the wines of Vega Sicilia.
Drought, February frosts and summer hailstorms punished the Duero Valley in 2012, and reduced yields at Alion as at other properties. But rains alleviated the drought in time and harvest conditions turned favourable, resulting in a small but very fine crop.
By eRoberParker.com, 95 Points
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. 280,000 bottles were produced.