Friday, April 17, 2009

1996 Abadia Retuerta Cuvee El Campanario

You can sometimes find some real bargains in the bin ends and discount racks at your local wine store. I always peruse those areas when I visit a wine store, just in case I see something especially appealing, and at a great price. At a local Kappy's Fine Wine & Spirits, on their special discount rack, I found a bottle of 1996 Abadia Retuerta Cuvee El Campanario. Though it usually retails for $50-60, I purchased it for about $32. Unfortunately, they only had a single bottle for sale. After drinking this wine recently, I definitely wish I had more.

Maybe due to my recent experience with the Abadia Retuerta Cuvee Palomar, I have been in the mood to drink more wines from Abadia Retuerta. I was having Shepherd's Pie for dinner and as I perused my wines, I decided on the Cuvee El Campanario. This is a Vino de Mesa, a table wine, made from 100% Tempranillo. But, the cuvee was made from four different groups of Tempranillo, each from a different soil: limestone, graves, clay and sand. Each group was vinified separately. You get the best of the best from each group. The wine was aged in 100% new French Limousin oak for about 18 months and then bottled without filtration.

This wine was very dark in color, a rich purple that you definitely would not want to stain your clothes. I inhaled a compelling aroma of blackberries, lilac, vanilla and spice and spent a few minutes just smelling it, savoring its rich aromas. When I finally tasted it, it was not like my expectations. As it was thirteen years old, I felt that the fruit flavors might be more subdued yet they still were lush and juicy, as vibrant as any young wine. Black cherry and ripe plum dominated, especially up front, yet there was much more than fruit. There was also plenty of spice, vanilla, and hints of leather and smoke. In fact, there was a complexity of flavors that really impressed me.

It was full bodied with moderate tannins that were well integrated into the wine so they did not overpower. I could easily enjoy this wine on its own or with food and it went well with the meaty Shepherd's Pie. The finish was quite long, dry and satisfying. It was an amazing wine, one I deeply relished.

I really enjoyed the Cuvee Palomar from the other evening, but the Cuvee El Campanario easily surpassed it. I think this wine still has plenty of life in it and would last in you cellar for several more years at least, if not even longer. If you can find this wine, I highly recommend you buy it. I will be hunting for more of it for sure.

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