Red, Ready, but will keep

2006 Vega Sicilia Alion

2006 Vega Sicilia Alion

Red | Ready, but will keep | Vega Sicilia | Code:  13105 | 2006 | Spain > Ribera del Duero | Other Varieties | Full Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

WA

94/100

WA - 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.
Jay S Miller - 29/06/2010

The Producer

Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia, Spain's “first growth” and most prestigious wine estate, is located in Ribera del DueroIt was founded in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, who arrived from Bordeaux with cuttings of local grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec) and planted them, together with Spain’s signature grape Tinto Fino (aka Tempranillo) in the arid Ribera soils.

The winery begun building its formidable reputation after 1903 under the ownership of Antonio Herrero, winning a number of awards at home and overseas. The estate changed hands several more times before its acquisition by the current owners, the Álvarez family, in 1982.

The estate’s success is founded on its meticulous approach. In the vineyard it applies low yields, aided by green harvesting and painstaking selection at harvest. In the winery, wines are aged in any number of receptacles – using French and American, new and old oak, small barrels or huge vats – to engender further complexity. Despite prolonged barrel ageing, the fruit is never dried out or overly oaky – compelling evidence of the superb quality of its raw materials.

The Vega Sicilia range includes three cuvées: Único (literally translating as “unique”) is the flagship, followed by Único Reserva Especial (a multi-vintage blend) and their “entry-level” offering Valbuena 5° (an expression of Tinto Fino aged for five years, hence the “5°”). The top two wines are a blend of Tinto Fino with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot, depending on the vintage. They are both aged for approximately 10 years prior to release, normally spending six of those in barrel and three in bottle.

This illustrious property laid the founding stone for Ribera del Duero, which is now acknowledged to be one of the best wine regions in Spain.

Vega Sicilia has now built up a portfolio which includes Bodegas Alion (providing a more modern expression of Ribera del Duero),  Bodegas Pintia (in the emerging region  Toro), Macán (a partnership with Benjamin de Rothschild) and the Hungarian Tokaji estate, Oremus.

The Grape

Other Varieties

Other Varieties

There are over 200 different grape varieties used in modern wine making (from a total of over 1000). Most lesser known blends and varieties are traditional to specific parts of the world.

The Region

Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero

In the last 30 years, Ribera del Duero has risen up to challenge Rioja for the crown of Spain's greatest wine region. Once known only as the home of Vega Sicilia it now boasts numerous bodegas of outstanding quality, from Hacienda Monasterio to Cillar de Silos. The region was granted its DO status in 1982, and today has over 200 wineries and more than 20,000 hectares of vines.

In the last 30 years, Ribera del Duero has emerged from almost nowhere to challenge Rioja for the crown of Spain's greatest wine region. Once known only as the home of Vega Sicilia it now boasts numerous bodegas of outstanding quality like Cillar de Silos, Alión and Hacienda Monasterio. Ribera del Duero was granted its DO status in 1982, at a time when only nine bodegas were operating there, yet today it has over 200 wineries and more than 20,000 hectares of vines. Most of Ribera del Duero's production is red, with only a modest quantity of rosado produced. No white wines are allowed under the DO.

Ribera del Duero owes its success to a combination of factors: firstly, its terroir of schistous sub-soil bears remarkable similarity to other famous winemaking regions such as the Douro and Priorat. Secondly, its microclimate, with its high altitude, hot days and cool nights (a phenomenon known as “diurnal variation”), ensures ripeness while preserving the vivacity of the fruit, aromatic flavours and refreshing acidity.

Thirdly, it has been blessed with an exceptional native grape, Tempranillo (also known as Tinto del País or Tinto Fino). This yields superb, complex red wines that are delicious when young but which also have the capacity to age into magnificent Gran Reservas. Finally, the immense influence of its winemakers has been key – historically, of course, Vega Sicilia, but more recently Peter Sisseck (Hacienda Monasterio) and the indefatigable Aragón family of Cillar de Silos.

The same DO rules govern Ribera's barrel-aged styles as for Rioja: Crianzas are aged for two years before release with at least a year in oak barrels; Reservas must be three years old with at least a year spent in oak; and, finally, Gran Reservas must be five years old before going on sale, with two years spent in barrel. The young (joven) unoaked red wines, called Roble, tend to boast a moreish, vibrant, bramble fruit while the best oak-aged styles of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva show intense, generous fruit, overlaid with notes of vanilla and sweet spice, and wrapped up in polished, elegant tannins.

Recommended producers: Vega Sicilia (including Alión), Cillar de Silos, Hacienda Monasterio

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