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A Spanish opus in two parts: Alion and Pintia

Spain’s Ribera del Duero may not necessarily be the first wine region to come to many people’s mind when talking about fine wine, but one only need utter the name Vega Sicilia to re-establish the status quo. This mighty bodega’s wines have had a place on the very best wine lists and in the most prestigious wine cellars for decades, standing shoulder to shoulder with First Growth Bordeaux, Super Tuscan icons and top end Napa estates. Alión is Vega Sicilia’s sister bodega in Ribera del Duero and Pintia its Toro project. The new vintages of these recently arrived and in fine red wine terms, these offer tremendous qualitative value.  

Dear Reader,

Bodegas y Viñedos Alión
Vega Sicilia’s sister bodega in Ribera del Duero consist of 130 hectares, 70 of which are situated on the Vega Sicilia estate itself. The philosophy at Alión has always been to produce a modern expression of Ribera del Duero – something more akin to Bordeaux. Just the one wine is made here and it continues to be one of the region’s best, vintage after vintage. The wine is 100% Tempranillo (known as Tinto Fino in the region) and the grapes, quite incredibly considering the size of the estate, are harvested by hand in 12-kg boxes. Fermentation takes place in wooden casks and the wine aged for 12-14 months in new French oak. Once in bottle, the wine is matured for a further 15 months before being released from the bodega.

Alión 2017
R 1,250 per bottle

Packaged in wooden cases of 6 

‘’The 2017 Alión…they reduced the amount of new oak by 8%. It fermented with indigenous yeasts, and 10% of the volume aged in concrete, completely unoaked…It’s a classical Alión, with some developed aromas, juicy and round but not heavy, with just a tad of earthy rusticity. With time, it develops more balsamic notes and hints of licorice.’’
94 points | Luis Gutiérrez for Wine Advocate | June 2021

‘’Opaque ruby. Primary dark fruit, floral and vanilla aromas are sharpened by a spicy suggestion of cracked pepper and woodsmoke, and licorice notes build in the glass. Juicy and smooth on the palate, offering densely packed, spice-laced bitter cherry, blackberry and fruitcake flavors that firm up slowly with aeration. Shows superb depth as well as energy on the impressively long finish, which is firmed by youthfully gripping tannins.’’
94 points | Josh Raynolds for Vinous | February 2021

Bodegas y Viñedos Pintia 
Following its purchase in 1996, Vega Sicilia took the 96-hectare bodega and soon placed the region of Toro firmly back on the map. Quality has steadily been on the rise ever since and while the wine certainly expresses that typical Toro rusticity, depth and power, it undoubtedly has that Vega DNA coursing through its veins. There is wonderful elegance to Pintia and it ages effortlessly in bottle. Again, the wine is 100% Tempranillo (in Toro it is known as Tinto de Toro) and all grapes are harvested by hand. With regards to maturation, the percentage of new oak used is 80% (25% American and 75% French).

Pintia 2016
R 850 per bottle

‘’The 2016 Pintia comes from a cooler but drier vintage…clearly a more elegant vintage than 2015. The wine has some notes that took me to the Northern Rhône, and the oak is neatly integrated—it seems to get better integrated in cooler years. There is a mix of black and red fruit that denotes good freshness. The palate is medium-bodied, with a distinct lack of rusticity and density, and it’s more fluid. It has abundant, chalky and fine-grained tannins and a supple, long and dry finish.’’
95 points | Luis Gutiérrez for Wine Advocate | June 2021

‘’Saturated ruby. Expansive cherry, black raspberry, potpourri and exotic spice aromas are complemented by subtle licorice and woodsmoke flourishes. Vibrant and sharply focused in the mouth, with a spine of juicy acidity adding focus to palate-staining black and blue fruit liqueur, violet pastille, mocha and spicecake flavors. The floral quality resonates emphatically on the clinging finish, which features lingering cherry and smoky mineral notes. There’s noteworthy elegance here, a trait that’s not exactly common for Toro.’’
95 points | Josh Raynolds for Vinous | February 2021

The three wines produced at Bodegas Vega Sicilia – namely, the Reserva Especial Único multi-vintage, the vintage Único and the Valbuena 5° – are available on an allocation basis only. If you would like to speak to us about the wines and the allocation process, please reach out to your Account Manager or send us a message HERE and we will be in touch.