Abadia Retuerta, "Selección Especial" 1999

Tempranillo Blend|Spain

Along the banks of the majestic Duero river, in Ribera del Duero’s “Golden Mile” lies the Abadia Retuerta, a 12th-century abbey and church turned award-winning winery, also recognized for its myriad sustainability achievements. Monks and wine are historically intertwined; the wine they made was used for the sacrament and dispersed among the local population. Today that tradition continues with the winery, five-star hotel, and fully self-sustained farm.

Unofficially Abadia Retuerta is indeed in Ribera del Duero (the Duero runs right through the property), although the wine is labeled as "Vino de la Tierra." The estate is known as “Sardón de Duero,” synonymous with the Abadia and as recognizable on its own – sans-appellation – as “Unico” is to Vega Sicilia, its globally famous neighbor just a short drive away.

The team behind this wine is a veritable all-star team, with Pascal Delbeck as consulting winemaker of Chateau Ausone (the multi-million dollar Bordeaux estate whose wines go for $500-plus).

This perfectly preserved 1999 “Seleccion” is a rare treat, comprised of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Garnacha in the model of Vega Sicilia. At twenty two years of age it’s only getting started, showing as complex as a prestige Bordeaux, with notes of cigar, blackberry liqueur, potpourri, and warm earth with a burnished, terrifically savory palate.

The winery covers an impressive 500 acres, divided amongst dense forests, vineyards, and adverse vegetable gardens, orchards, and ecological preserves. It’s an entire closed loop of regenerative agriculture, minimal carbon footprint, replete with organic gardens, solar power, water regeneration, and more, which have earned it numerous awards including the coveted Michelin Green Award for its sustainability work.

It’s a must-visit destination and an easy 2-3 hour drive from Madrid. The dining room in the converted 100-foot church hall alone is worth the visit, but the five-star accommodations make it one of the world’s most unique wine destinations. When you visit, tell them we sent you!

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