When I received a call from mi amigo, Javier (owner of San Diego’s BEST Spanish restaurant, Costa Brava), to attend a winemaker event at his restaurant I could do nothing other than oblige. There was promise of excellent wine and food (no doubt!) and I there was no way I was going to miss this. Other than the obligatory Spanish wine tasting that many wine shops hold rarely does the San Diego wine scene get to experience an evening with representatives of bodegas from Spain. This night would highlight the wines of Abadía Retuerta.

The Abadía Retuerta winery is located on the “Golden Mile” along the Duero River and finds company in some of Spain’s top and most influential winemakers. “Designed by famous French enologist, Pascal Delbeck, in 1996, Abadía Retuerta winery is an elegant combination of tradition and modernity, recognized as one of the most advanced wineries in Europe. It covers an area of 10,000 m2 with limited wine production, as quality is preferred to quantity.” 70% of the estate is planted with Tempranillo, 10% is Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% a small amount of Syrah and Petit Verdot. The winery produces a number of wines. I was fortunate enough to try three this night.

Upon arriving at Costa Brava I was instantly greeted by Javier and a glass of Cava. It would not be long before I was introduced to  some excellent wines and perfectly prepared tapas. Alvaro Pérez Navazo, Sales & Marketing Director for Abadía Retuerta (and formerly the vineyard caretaker) led us through the tasting of three of the bodegas wines available in the US:

2007 Abadía Retuerta Rivola: “Brilliant ruby color with violet highlights. On the nose, the wine is fresh and generously fruity, with impressions of ripe raspberries, strawberries and wild cherries offset by notes of jasmine, spice and mint. The fragrance is confirmed on the palate, which is mellow, fresh and succulent, supported by clean, subtle, sweetly ripe tannins ending in a silky, elegant finish.”

2005 Abadía Retuerta Seleccíon Especial: “Seleccíon Especial is dense ruby-garnet in color, with a subtle, complex nose of ripe red berry and wild black cherries offset by notes of violet, menthol, spice and vanilla. Silky, ripe red fruits and hints of spice and mint predominate on the palate, with a full, harmonious balance underscored by refined tannins. The finish is finely textured and lingering.”

2003 Abadía Retuerta Cuvée Palomar: “Deep crimson in color with ruby highlights, Cuvée Palomar shows intense aromas of fresh ripe red berry and preserved plum with notes of violets, orange peel, mint and hints of caramel from the barrel toast. These impressions carry onto a full, voluptuous palate with further floral notes and nuances of torrefaction set in a silky tannic structure of elegant balance. The finish is long and powerful, an expression of one of the great microclimates of the Duero Valley.”

Javier did not disappoint with the tapas either! A parade of tasty morsels found their way to our table: chorizitos (mini chorizos), patatas bravas, bacon-wrapped figs, crostini with a soft Cabrales (blue) cheese, jamón with tomato bruschetta, and padrón peppers (my favorite). If you live in (or visit San Diego) you must stop by Costa Brava because there is so much more to try! I would also encourage you to look for the wines of Abadía Retuerta. I can guarantee you will not be sorry!

Life is short. Drink Spanish wine!

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