The why, the what and the how of...
With the success of the Vega Sicilia project confirmed, the Alvarez family set about implementing their strategy of sensible wine-making expansion. With Pablo Álvarez firmly at the helm, a bodega quite close to Vega Sicilia was bought in 1990. An emotional charge lies in the name chosen for the new winery project, Alion, which is a derivation from the Roman name, Ayllon, today known as León, where the family patriarch, David was born. Pablo was determined that Alion would reflect the modern Ribera del Duero, with the tradition offered only by a wine made from 100% tinto fino.
The soils and microclimate of Alión offer a unique edge to the other estates in Ribera del Duero. Sitting amid a dry, continental climate (though there is an influence from the Atlantic), the soils are the true heroes – the loamy texture offers fantastic moisture retention. The annual average rainfall of 500mm and 2,200 hours of sun each year restricts the only real sources of water to come from the soil, supplemented to a lesser degree by morning mist from the River Duero.
Alión focuses all its energy on the production of one wine, comprising of 100% Tinto Fino (a Tempranillo clone): the Alión Reserva Tinto. Alión is a full and robust wine and is the height of expression of the Tinto Fino grape ripened in the sun and intelligently made into wine. Once fermented in steel tanks, it is matured for 15 months in 100% new oak. Alion’s barrel requirement is taken care of by the cooperage at Vega Sicilia, which makes barrels for Alion from 100% French oak.
The colour is concentrated, dark with a luminous and seductive edge, typical of its youth and seasoned by the wood. Expect a fresh, elegant opulence, with plenty of power. A great wine from a great region, which drinks beautifully on release but has the potential to develop into something quite extraordinary with time in the bottle.