I’ve come across this wine a couple of times now. Posts about it have already been published here in May and July of 2008 and just recently I had it twice in a matter of only 3 months and now again I am popping a cork of this 2003 Alion from Ribera Del Duero. Of course it belongs to a category of wines that are a little controversial as it opposes aficionados of modern Spanish wines and those who prefer the more traditional ones. But somehow I believe Alion is right in between these two styles: a modern interpretation of traditional Spanish wines as to say, but not a super-extracted monster, although this verdict might also depend on drinking-circumstances.
It surely is abundant in sweet fruit and contains heaps of alcohol, but this is more or less apparent depending on the situation and the wines you drink next to it. I’d definitely recommend to be meticulous about serving temperature and not pour it too warm, chilling it a bit will help contain alcohol vapors, and the wine will still warm up in your hand anyway.
Nose is still very seductive with lots of warm notes of black and red fruits, a hint of vanilla reminding oak ageing, a little spice such as clove and sometime an unwelcome glue tone also comes through.
On the palate as expected a wine with great weight displaying sweet black and red fruit, not cooked as one might expect it with the ultrahot 2003 vintage, but even underlined by a little freshness. Spice, clove and a hint of bitterness are also there. And of course the aforementioned alcohol makes a regular appearance, then producing quite some heat.
Tannins are fine grained, still indicating ageing and cellaring potential, but at some moments I find them to be a little drying out. The wine shows a good presence and length, with sometimes rather classic Tempranillo aromatics of coffee, chocolate and toffee.
I would say that the wine is at a point where you could call it peaking, where it appears elegant and seductive at the same time and makes a great match with grilled and braised meats, especially beef. It is also great on its own, so one could bring it for a special treat even without much food. It can still age many more years, but if you have a case of it, I’d definitely start drinking it at a more intense pace from now on. Depending on the situation I see this one between 90 and 93 points (This bottle was drunk over 2 days)!