When Spanish wine enthusiasts talk of the “Golden Mile,” they are referring to a stretch of the road between Valladolid and Peñafiel, home to an unparalleled concentration of Spain’s greatest wineries. The distance is in fact 24 miles, but the moniker “Golden” is certainly justified. Between Tudela de Duero and the outskirts of Peñafiel, one passes the vineyards of Mauro, Pingus, Alion, Pesquera as well as the two most imposing estates of the region, Vega Sicilia and Abadia Retuerta.
Once part of the original Vega Sicilia estate, Abadia Retuerta was brought back to life as a wine estate by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis in 1991. Under the guidance of Pascal Delbeck, former director and winemaker of Chateau Ausone, they identified and planted 54 different vineyard parcels, interspersed with nearly 500 hectares of ecologically-friendly pine forest, and a state-of-the-art gravity flow winery with underground ageing cellars. The vineyards rise from the gravelly benchland on the south side of the River Duero up the north-facing slopes behind to altitudes of 850m, where the limestone rock is almost entirely bereft of topsoil.
The principal wine of the estate is the “Seleccion Especial”, which blends the diverse soil types, altitudes and grape varieties to deliver complex terroir character in a precise, pure and balanced wine with very fine tannins. It won the IWC trophy for overall “Red Wine of the Year” in 2005, and that was before the vines reached full maturity. For us, the 2009 represents the full breakthrough into the rarified elite of genuine world-class wines.
Abadia Retuerta also make 4 micro-production cuvees, each featuring a single grape variety and a single vineyard : an opulent Tempranillo from warm, deep gravel benchland near the road ; an aristocratic Cab Sauv from a cool, high-altitude vineyard with exposed limestone ; a beautifully-expressive Syrah, from a calcareous hillside vineyard benefitting from the protection of the adjoining forest ; and a unique 100% Petit Verdot of which just 3 barrels are made each year.
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