There are a couple of important wine regions in Castilla y Leon, located in the northern half of Spain. It is a hot and dry region where the most of Spain’s heritage sites are found in. The most crucial wine region in Castilla y Leon is Ribera del Duero, a prime region with many top Tempranillo producers such as Vega Sicilia, Pingus, Aalto, etc. The less famous region is Toro, a region known for its powerful, robust and high alcohol Tempranillo. Bodega Numanthia is one of the two most famous producer in Toro if not the most famous. Numanthia is famous for their muscular red wines made from 100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo) old vines.
I was invited to a Numanthia dinner event with the estate director of Numanthia, Lucas Lowi, at the Oval Restaurant at The Wellesley Hotel London earlier this week.
Numanthia was founded by Eguron family in 1998, but some of the older vines date back to 1880. The first vintage of Numanthia was 1998, it was awarded 95 points by Robert Parker very soon after release. In 2008, LVMH group acquired Bodega Numanthia for an unconfirmed €25 million.
Vineyard and Production
Bodega Numanthia is one of the first few estates in Toro. They own 83 hectares of vines spread across 100 plots, 100% Tinta de Toro, it is almost identical to Tempranillo but more suited to the climate in Toro.
The Numanthia is a blend of different vineyards with an vines from 50 to 100 years old. Aged in 100% new French oak for 18-22 months. The planting density is low, there is a 3 meter distance between each vine, hence the yield is low – approximately 2,000kg/ha. The annual production size is about 40,000 bottles.
The Termanthia is the top wine of Bodega Numanthia. It comes from a single vineyard of 4.8 hectare with 140 years old ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines. The juice is fermented in oak barrels and aged in 200% new French oak for 20-22 months, The yield is 1,300kg/ha and approximately 7,000 bottles are made each year. The old vines produce very tiny berries and the flavours are extremely concentrated and intense.
Is this what Rioja could be if they were on steroids? Serious concentration and power that reminds me of a Ribera Del Duero, perhaps not quite as complex, but very rich and tight. Very dark, inky and filled with dark fruits, generous aromas and leathery flavours. This is certainly a big and heavy wine with lots of tannins and structure. Very ripe and clear sense of heat on the palate. We were all surprised how youthful it was on the nose, good density and oak influence. (89/100)
The 2012 Numanthia is an intense and brooding wine. Highly concentrated with punchy dark fruits and heavy smoke. Full-bodied with punchy ripe fruits. 100% new oak spices and sweet vanilla nuance, more oak flavour driven than the highly complex and dense Termanthia, the top wine of Numanthia. (88/100)
The 2010 Termanthia is a slight step up from the muscular 2012 Termanthia. Exceptional concentration and complexity. 2010 was a warmer and drier vintage than 2012, yielding some incredibly concentrated small berries with phenomenal ripeness. A powerful punch on the nose. The Sine Qua Non of Spain! Wait another 10-15 years. (92/100)
The 2012 Termanthia is very much like 2012 Numenthia on steroids, it is not a wine to take it lightly on its own. Termanthia is huge, insanely extracted with powerful fruit flavours. Great depth and polished, spent 22 months in 100% new French oak. Termanthia has a sweeter darker fruit than Numanthia, the high alcohol integrates better in Termanthia too. (91/100)