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The wines of Abadia Retuerta, Sardón del Duero, Spain

Abadia Retuerta, Santa Maria de Tetuerta, 47340 Sardón del Duero, Valladolid, Spain
Tel: +34 (0) 9836 80 314
UK agent: C&D wines (tel: 020 8778 1711)

Abadia Retuerta is a relatively new winery, located just outside the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. It is built on the 700 hectare estate of Santa María de Retuerta in Sardón del Duero. Owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, they have quickly forged a reputation for making some of Spain’s most critically acclaimed red wines. Winemaker Pascal Delbeck has fashioned some modern classics with these 1999s, but most will need time to come round. These ambitious wines also carry ambitious price tags. More affordable are the Rivola (around £8) and Primacia (around £6), which weren’t on show here but which I’ve enjoyed on previous occasions: these will give you a good idea of the house style at this estate.

Attention to detail and the pursuit of quality are the bywords at this estate. The last wines of the estate were grubbed up in the 1970s, so planting started again from scratch. This was only initiated after a thorough geological survey, which revealed a wide variety of soil types. The estate has been divided up into 54 sub-plots, which are vinified separately. There are 204 hectares of vineyards in all, with 65% Tempranillo, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, with tiny quantities of Syrah and Petit Verdot.

Guide retail process are given in brackets.

Abadia Retuerta Selección Especial 1999
A blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. Really forward, attractive nose displays sweet herb-tinged fruit with a smoky edge. Good concentration and density on the ripe, fruit-forward palate with some firm tannins. Quite classy. Very good+ (£12)

Abadia Retuerta Cuvée El Palomar 1999
A 50/50 blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Dense nose with spicy, herbal complexity. Very youthful, tight concentrated palate is quite closed but packs in lots of dense, herbal fruit and firm tannic structure. Nice balance and lots of promise for the future. Very good/excellent (£25)

Abadia Retuerta Cuvée El Campanario 1999
A varietal Tempranillo. Rich, dense nose with spectacular herbal, tarry notes: very dense and quite serious, hinting at the exotic with a coffee-like edge. The palate is taut, dense and herbal with firm tannins and good acidity. Youthful now, but a brilliant effort. Very good/excellent (£25)

Abadia Retuerta Pago Negralada 1999
A varietal Tempranillo. Spectacular sweet liquoricey and herbal complexity on the nose. The palate is firm and tannic with an earthy, mineral edge. Good density and some woody notes.  This brilliantly made wine is very youthful and potentially excellent in time. Very good/excellent (£57)

Abadia Retuerta Paga Valdebellón 1999
A varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. Dense, nutty, toasty nose with a slightly liqueur-like sweet edge. The palate is taut, tannic and savoury with some oak influence and subtle herbal notes. Lots of character. Very good/excellent (£57)  

wines tasted November 2003

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