The 2016 Pintia comes from a cooler but drier vintage, and the wine has a little less alcohol and more freshness. It fermented in oak vats and matured in mostly new and mostly French oak, but this year they used a little more American oak with the idea to increase density. 2016 was an atypical year in Toro; they had plenty of time to pick the grapes with lower alcohol and wines with more elegance. This is clearly a more elegant vintage than 2015.
The wine has some notes that took me to the Northern Rhône, and the oak is neatly integrated—it seems to get better integrated in cooler years. There is a mix of black and red fruit that denotes good freshness. The palate is medium-bodied, with a distinct lack of rusticity and density, and it’s more fluid. It has abundant, chalky and fine-grained tannins and a supple, long and dry finish.
Bodegas Alion was started by the renowned estate of Vega Sicilia in 1991. Grapes are sourced from vineyards next to the winery and from Vega Sicilia’s own vineyards at Valbuena. Eighteen hectares of Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) form the actual Alion estate. The 2004 Alion is inky purple-colored with an alluring perfume of toasty oak, lavender, violets, mineral, blackberry, and blueberry compote. This is followed by a full-bodied, rich, opulent, wine with incipient complexity, and notes of licorice, mocha, and espresso emerging on the palate. The lengthy finish is pure and persistent.
Único is Tinto Fino, with 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, in contrast to Valbuena No.5, which has a small dash of Merlot. It opens with alluring aromas of dark plums, spice and oak. As expected, it’s powerful, intense and very long, but within that you can note the very fine tannins, the result of the assiduous attention to ageing in different types and sizes of vats over the years. There’s an element of tobacco smoke, of black fruits, of the dark plums promised in the aromas, the whole beautifully integrated. A vintage and a wine that’s hard to better. This has 25 to 30 years ahead of it, but you could also enjoy it within a few years – that’s the essence of Vega Sicilia, its interplay of youth and ageability.
VALBUENA NO.5 2015
The aromas to this are so complex and enticing with nutmeg, dark berries, chocolate and white pepper. Full body. Dense and layered with so much wonderful, complex and succulent character. It just makes you want to drink it. Drink or hold.
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