2006 Alion (Vega Sicilia) Ribera del Duero
94 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2006 Alion, aged in 100% new French oak, is a saturated purple color with a fetching bouquet of sandalwood, smoke, Asian spices, incense, and black cherry confiture. In the mouth it has outstanding volume, kinky spice notes, savory black fruits, and enough fine-grained tannin to evolve for another 5-7 years. Its drinking window will extend from 2015 to 2031. Bodegas Alion was founded in 1991 by Vega Sicilia. Grapes are sourced from vineyards next to the winery and from Vega Sicilias own vineyards at Valbuena, a total of approximately 40 acres of Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) vines." (Apr 2010) Amongst a most distinguished and iconic range of wines from Vega Sicilia, it is the Alion which is arguably the best value of the bunch. Intense, spicy, a bit woodsy dark cherry and berry aromas lead to a fruity, yet structured and mineral wine. Firm tannins provide a sense of balance. The finish is persistent. Alion reminds me of good, traditional Chateauneuf du Pape in that it is ripe, to be sure, but also nicely balanced and capable of extended bottle ageing. Quite well done this vintage.