2005 Alion (Vega Sicilia) Ribera del Duero

SKU #1047173 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2005 Alion has a captivating perfume of smoke, pencil lead, violets, truffle, cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it is medium to full-bodied, firm, sweetly-fruited, layered, and splendidly balanced. It has several years of aging potential ... (JM)  (6/2009)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky ruby. Smoky and wild on the nose, showing assertively pungent cherry and blackcurrant aromas, along with notes of pipe tobacco and smoked meat. Powerful, palate-staining cherry-cola and licorice flavors are given bite by a bitter berry skin quality. The licorice and smoky notes repeat on the long, focused finish, which reveals a sneaky sweetness. Showing a lot of power, and built to age.  (9/2009)

Jancis Robinson

 Black fruit compote; super-smooth and caressing, still delicate and subtle, yet somehow unputdownable. The fruit has a tremendous clarity and a soft bite to the tannin, still plenty of weight in the mid-palate and is probably just drawing the curtains on its drinking window. There is a slight indication of the leather and savoury spice to come. (RH)  (5/2009)

K&L Notes

Produced in a softer, more modern style, here is your opportunity to get a taste of Vega Sicilia's winemaking for a modest sum. Purchased by Vega Sicilia in 1992, Alion shares the same vineyard management and winemaking team. Though you might have had Ribera del Duero produced by growers who sell fruit to Vega Sicila, or from a bodega 'across the road' from Vega Sicilia, simply put ... it ain't Vega Sicilia. Neither is this, but it's the next best thing, benefitting from all the financial and intellectual resources of Spain's first growth, as well as their uncanny sense to make the most elegant and balanced wines of the region.

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Varietal:

Tempranillo

- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.
Country:

Spain

- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.
Sub-Region:

Ribera del Duero