- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Abadia Retuerta, Seleccion Especial, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon (Spain) 2006, $21.

The globalization of wine and winemaking certainly has its downside. In many parts of the grape-growing world, internationally popular varieties and fashions threaten to undermine regional distinctions of style and flavor. At the same time, however, many new high-quality wines are emerging from previously undistinguished areas. They may not taste true to a specific place, but they can be delicious.

This new-styled red Seleccion Especial is a scrumptious case in point. A blend of tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, it offers luscious berry fruit, a hint of sweet oak and a long, lingering finish. Though its flavors do not seem notably Castillan or even Spanish, it tastes complete and complex, true to itself. With a soft, supple texture, it’s very inviting to drink and should be a good partner for roast meat dishes or full-flavored cheeses.

The story of the Abadia Retuerta estate, established as a monastery in the 12th century, exemplifies the upside of wine’s internationalization. Grapes grew there for hundreds of years, but modern winemaking only arrived in the 1990s after a Swiss company purchased and revitalized the property.

The new owners introduced not only new grape varieties, but also new, modern winemaking equipment and techniques. By doing so, they elevated quality and are producing wines that consumers worldwide can enjoy.

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