Located among some of the most important wineries in Ribera del Duero, one of Spain’s main wine regions, you can find Abadía Retuerta. Ironically, what has become a prominent winery in the region, Abadía Retuerta, is not considered to be part of the Ribera del Duero appellation (Denominación de Origen/DO) as the property lies outside of the Denominación de Origen boundaries.
What initially was a challenge for the winery when it was established in 1996, has become one of Abadía’s biggest strengths. How is this, you may ask? Well, Abadía Retuerta took pride in the flexibility of not being restricted by an appellation to plant vines and craft wines that are ideally suited for the terroir in which the property is located. Fast forward 27 years, and now Abadía Retuerta can proudly say that they are one of only twenty wineries in Spain with the Vino de Pago designation.
Vino de Pago is a classification in Spain that applies to individual vineyards and wine estates. It was created in 2003 to recognize vineyards that fall outside of the DO classification regulations for geographic or stylistic reasons. One of the most important requirements to receive such designation is that the winery, to make their wines, may only use grapes grown on their estate. Abadía Retuerta is the last winery to have received such designation.
Abadía Retuerta’s project includes their 5 star hotel, Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine, which is located on their estate in the impeccably restored Abbey of Santa María de Retuerta which dates back to the 12th century. The hotel houses a spa and two restaurants, one of them being the Refectorio, which proudly holds a Michelin Star.
Due to the fact that the winery is not required to adhere to the Ribera del Duero DO regulations, at Abadía Retuerta you can find different varietals being grown apart from Tempranillo, which is the flagship grape of the region. We were particularly drawn to their Single Vineyard, Pago Valdebellón Cabernet Sauvignon, made from grapes grown between 700-850 meters above sea level. The wine was smooth and lush and perhaps the best Cabernet that we have enjoyed in 2023.
If you plan to visit Ribera del Duero, we encourage you to visit Abadía Retuerta and see for yourself how they are striving for excellence while playing by their own rules.