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March 04, 2014

Vega Sicilia Valbuena and Alion 2009

Vega.Sicilia (1)

Following on from the hugely popular and globally anticipated Vega Sicilia Unico 2004 and Riserva Especial 2014 release, we are delighted to announce the new releases of Vega Sicilia Valbeuna 5° and Alion 2009. Valbuena is largely accepted as the second wine of Unico, heralding form the same vineyards, produced with the same exacting standards, yet released at less than half the price of the Unico. Vega Sicilia Alion is located adjacent to the Vega Sicilia vineyards and was created by the Alvarez family to demonstrate that their legendary winemaking style could be applied to modern wines, in accordance with the tendencies of the 21st Century. Alion is critically acclaimed generally scoring 95-96 points and offers immense value at £33 a bottle.

Vega Sicilia Valbuena 2009, 3×75 – £210 IB or £259.20 incl. duty and VAT
Vega Sicilia is the most significant wine producer in Spain, considered amongst the greatest in the world. Their property is found 700 metres above sea level in the shallow Spanish part of the Duero river valley on the high remote plateau of Castilla y Leon. This unique climate delivers cold nights and hot days allowing the grapes to become beautifully ripe and develop wonderful tannic structure, with a wonderful backbone of acidity and therefore superb balance.

The Valbuena is released after five years, three spent in cask and two in bottle; the Unico is released after ten years. It is aged in new barrels, 50% French oak, imparting, vanilla, toast and brioche and 50% in America oak, adding coconut and spice. Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) forms the backbone of Vega Sicilia’s wines, a grape with great resilience to oxidation. The Valbuena is made from 95% Tinto Fino and 5% Merlot, from the vineyards that boast no yields exceeding 32 hectolitres per acre with vines between 25 and 30 years old.

2009 experienced very hot conditions, yet opportune rains provided the vintage with good water uptake. The natural diurnal temperature changes created by the inimitable climatic conditions allowed Vega Sicilia to maintain wonderful harmony, most characteristically similar to the 2003 vintage, which scored an excellent 94 points from the Wine Advocate. The 2009 Valbuena displays powerful, ripe aromas, with effortless notes of strawberries, recurrent, blueberry, plums, damsons and wonderful floral high notes of violets. The palate bursts with forest fruit, red cherries, boasting wonderful power, balsamic notes and vibrant acidity. The 2009 Valbuena is a superb effort, amongst their best in the last five years.

If you want to experience the grandeur of the Unico at a more affordable level the Valbuena is the perfect choice.

Vega Sicilia Alion 2009, 6×75 – £200 IB or £254.40 incl. duty and VAT
Bodegas Alion was founded in 1986 and commercialised in 1991 by the owners of Vega Sicilia, propitiously located next to their Vega Sicilia estate. Alion was created to challenge the style of their great wines Unico and Riserva Especial, by producing a more modern elegant style out of 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo). The wine is aged in 100% new French oak barrels and their mantra of a modern style derives stylistically from Bordeaux, creating a wine that delivers a synthesis between Ribera Del Duero and the Bordeaux Medoc.

The 2009 was fermented in French oak vat, malolactic fermentation occurred in stainless steel vats until January 2010 and it was then aged in Nevers oak barrels for 16 months and subsequently in bottle until its release. Once again the 2009 Alion, like the Valbuena is stylistically similar to the 2003, with huge personality, depth, concentration and ripe fruit. It has only so far (among the leading critics) been tasted by the famous Spanish wine writer Guia Repsol who has awarded it 95 points. Alion 2009 expresses intense and precise red fruit, cherries, spices and aromas of noble woods, smoke, espresso, dried herbs and roasted meats. The mouthful is round, ripe and beautifully balanced with incredibly ripe tannin, with a full creamy mouthful, vivacious acidity and an incredible balanced finish. With age it will develop saddle leather flavours, caramel and notes of Oloroso sherry.

Alion regularly scores 95-96 points; it scored 96+ in 2003. It is one of the highest scoring Spanish wines and is special because it straddles the best styles of the Ribera de Duero and Bordeaux. What makes it even more special is the price, at £33 a bottle Alion 2009 provides incredible value for money. The average bottle price of Alion has doubled in value over the last five years; the 2003 already costs £60 a bottle. Alion remains – for the time being – a wine for those in the know, it has the wow factor and collectors should look to collect it now before it enters the mainstream.

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