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On the shoulders of a Spanish wine giant

Owned by the Álvarez family of the legendary Spanish estate, Vega Sicilia, the Bodegas of Alión in Ribera del Duero and Pintia in Toro both occupy their own spaces in the arena of Spanish wine, but with that same level of quality and refinement that Vega Sicilia is renowned for.

Dear Reader,

Established in 1986, Bodegas Alión is situated in the region of Ribera del Duero, with close to half of the grapes coming from a 70-hectare block at Vega Sicilia and the balance from estate-grown vines, in two different blocks, at Alión. The wine made here is meant to be more modern in style to those of Vega Sicilia, allowing for earlier enjoyment but also being built to age.

The wine is made from 100% Tempranillo (referred to as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero) with grapes from all 130 hectares picked by hand. Following vinification, the wine is matured for 12 months in 80% new oak barrels (95% French and 5% American). For the 2016, a small component was matured in concrete tank. The wine is generally aged for three years before its release and evolves beautifully over a 10 to 20 year period depending on the vintage. Such is the approachable style of this wine, it can certainly still be enjoyed in its youth – a sophisticated and authentic expression of Ribera del Duero.

Álion 2016

Packaged in original wooden cases of 6

Bodegas Álion
Ribera del Duero
R 1,250 per bottle 

“The highly anticipated 2016 Alión…has to be one of the freshest and most elegant vintages of Alión, a year with depth, freshness and terrific balance. Same as they do in Pintia, they are finding ways to lower the impact of the oak in the wine; here, they used concrete, and the wine shows more primary and floral aromas and is nicely textured and with fine tannins.”
– 95 points | Luis Gutiérrez | Wine Advocate (December 2019)

“Glass-staining violet. Heady smoke- and mineral-accented aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, incense and potpourri, plus hints of vanilla and cola in the background. Densely packed, alluringly sweet and focused on the palate, offering intense black currant, cherry-vanilla and candied liquorice flavours and a touch of exotic spices. Sappy, smooth and seamless in texture, finishing with powerful thrust and velvety tannins that come in late to add shape and gentle grip.”
– 95 points | Josh Raynolds | Vinous (February 2021)

Pintia 2015

Situated on the banks of the River Duero in the appellation of Toro is Bodegas Pintia. In a desire to expand the empire and attracted by the differences in climate and soil, the Álvarez family purchased Bodegas Pintia in 1996. The one and only wine made here, exclusively from Tempranillo (referred to as Tinto de Toro), it has a tendency to show a bit more concentration – largely due to the hotter temperatures during the day and the subsoils which are richer in clay. The same attention to detail is paid here as at Vega Sicilia, and there is never any expense spared inside the winery – with modern techniques and slick gadgets consistently resulting in wines of wonderful balance, elegance and charm.

From the 96 hectares of vines, grapes are picked by hand and following vinification, the wine is matured for 12 months in 80% French oak and 20% American oak barrels. Something to note with the 2015 is that the percentage of new oak was reduced by 20% to highlight a greater degree of freshness in the wine.

Bodegas Pintia
R 850 per bottle 

“…the 2015 Pintia…has moderate acidity and a creamy, soft texture, with plenty of concentration, ripeness and tannins…even if the wine is powerful and tannic, it has good balance and the tannins are fine-grained. This has reached a good balance between power and elegance.”
 – 94 points | Luis Gutiérrez | Wine Advocate (December 2019)

“Deep, glistening ruby. Expansive cherry, cassis, potpourri, exotic spice and cracked pepper scents on the intensely perfumed nose; subtle liquorice, tobacco and vanilla qualities add complexity. Deep, sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering intense, spice- and smoke-tinged red and dark berry compote, violet pastille and cola flavours that become livelier with air. The floral quality gains strength on the strikingly long finish, which leaves smoke and mineral notes behind.”
– 95 points | Josh Raynolds | Vinous (February 2021)

Food Pairing Suggestions

Tempranillo produces wines that are medium to full bodied so consider dishes that are equal to it in weight. The wines also have a fair amount of natural acidity which cuts through fatty components in dishes and then measures up to tomato-based recipes too.

The wines on offer today can be enjoyed with tapas of course – focus on cured meats and sausage like chorizo. The Álion, if enjoyed younger, would go well with a range of tomato-based dishes like pastas and stews. The heartier Pintia will go very well with grilled/braaied meat.

Many thanks.

Kind regards,
Simon Crawley
Account Manager | WSET – Level 3