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The wine is a glass-coating opaque purple with a killer nose of mineral, pencil lead, wild blueberry, and blackberry liqueur that roars from the glass. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, dense, and already beginning to show complexity within its layers of spicy black fruits. There is immense power, well-concealed ripe tannin, and the well-delineated finish lasts for over one minute.
This is a sensational effort which in a perfect world should be cellared for a decade and enjoyed over the following 25+ years. However, the elderly among us should not feel guilty about opening a bottle now."
Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Any aspiring collectors should add a case of this to their stash. The 2004 Numanthia comes from a different terroir with a different clone of Tinta de Toro. The vines for this cuvee range from 70-100 years of age with tiny yields of 1 ton of fruit per acre. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in barrel followed by 19 months in new French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. The wine is a glass-coating opaque purple with a killer nose of mineral, pencil lead, wild blueberry, and blackberry liqueur that roars from the glass. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, dense, and already beginning to show complexity within its layers of spicy black fruits. There is immense power, well-concealed ripe tannin, and the well-delineated finish lasts for over one minute. This is a sensational effort which in a perfect world should be cellared for a decade and enjoyed over the following 25+ years. However, the elderly among us should not feel guilty about opening a bottle now.
Rich and deep, but still holding back, this powerful red shows concentration and balance, offering cassis, blackberry and roasted plum fruit, with dark notes of mineral, smoke and earth and hints of licorice and spice, all wrapped in muscular but velvety tannins.
This is the second wine of Numanthia-Termes after the single-vineyard Termanthia, though I'd place it first for its wild blend of sage and sanguine aromas, a primitive and primary nose that's hard to resist. It's a selection from old vines, some over 100 years old. The wine's intriguing flavors evolve toward caramelized blueberries and sweet spices, combined with a robust wall of mineral tannins. This Toro's strength of character sets it up to evolve for a decade or more.
The wine is named after a legendary Spanish city that was destroyed (after 20 yrs of resistance) by Roman legions. It is to Spain what the hilltop village of Masada is to Israel: a monument of history. Its 40 hectares of land are covered with an abundance of elements derived from the disintegration of Pliocene grit, clay and limestone.
Numanthia's first vintage was produced in 1998 and received a 95-point rating from Robert Parker. Since then, the Toro region has been producing wines that have begun to rival those of Spain's richest wine-producing regions of Ribera del Duero, Rioja and Priorat.
Home to some of the world’s finest and longest-lived sweet and dry white wines, the Mosel is a region of Germany formerly known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer—named thusly for the three rivers that flow through its dramatic valleys. Geology, climate and topography are paramount here, and the wines produced communicate a distinct sense of place. In addition to being prized for their heat-retaining properties, slate-based soils lend a stony minerality to the wines, contributing to some of the most recognizable terroir in the world. Cool temperatures necessitate the use of the region’s rivers to reflect heat onto the vineyards, and the best wines are made from sites with south or southwest facing slopes to receive sufficient direct sunlight for ripening. The breathtakingly steep slopes that straddle the river banks cannot be worked by machine, contributing to a high cost of labor (and treacherous working conditions).
Riesling is by far the most important and prestigious grape of the Mosel, grown on approximately 60% of the region’s vineyard land—typically the sites that provide the best combination of sunlight, soil type, and altitude. These wines, dry or sweet, are distinguished by marked acidity, low alcohol, and intense flavors of wet stone, citrus, and stone fruit. With age, a pleasing aroma of petroleum often develops. The lesser plots are mainly planted with lower-maintenance but relatively neutral varieties like [Müller-Thurgau] and other German crosses, but Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) can perform quite well here.
A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling, and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes in New York.
In the Glass
Riesling is low in alcohol, with high acidity, steely minerality, and stone fruit, spice, citrus, and floral notes. At its ripest it leans towards juicy peach and nectarine, and pineapple, while in cooler climes it is more redolent of meyer lemon, lime, and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of gasoline.
Riesling is very versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice), and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.