A few weeks ago I was faced with a difficult decision. What wine to serve in our last dinner at Amanecer 8, the house where we had lived for the last 15 months, a place by then full of good memories of wines tasted over countless dinners with friends. I decided to try Abadia Retuerta Selección Especial 2003. It was my lucky night. Everybody loved it and more importantly, wine led us to lucid conversation and after a few hours we had clarified, if not solved, some of the most pressing world problems, including the relationship between Europe and the US and were to buy the best ready made food if you are single, busy and live in Madrid.

Abadia Retuerta is surprisingly owned by Novartis, the pharmaceutical global giant. The vineyard is located at the heart of the Duero, around a XII century Abbey, and for a few inches does not belong to the official Ribera region. This geographical point has become actually an advantage and Novartis has spared nothing in terms of creativity and means to make wines that relate to their beauty of the hills and valleys were the grapes grow. Selección Especial 2003 is an amazing buy at around euros per bottle. It has a lot of personality and I found it splendid, smooth and delicate.

This wine maker is in the newspapers these days because a new highway is planned across some of its best vineyards, with terrible environmental consequences. Let’s hope our politicians and bureaucrats reconsider this decision and learn from these winemakers to combine modernity with passion for the terroir.