Friday, April 23, 2010

Numanthia "Termes" 2007

I picked this wine up for 24$ at Costco, which is a dollar lower than everyone online. Given the ratings pedigree of this wine (several past vintages in the mid-90's, and the 2005 with a 96 from the Wine Spectator), I'm certain that this is a "recession casualty" that Costco has been able to capitalize on. I'm thinking that typically, they wouldn't have access to a whole lot of this wine. Now, however, the cards have turned. Wholesalers and wineries are sitting on a lot of wine. Costco is probably one of the only people out there that can move a lot of this wine. Demographically, the typical Costco consumer is quite a bit different from the normal consumer...much higher average income is probably the biggest factor in this case.

This particular wine is from the Toro region of Spain, and is composed of 100% Tinto de Toro, otherwise known as Tempranillo. I don't know shit about the Toro region, but I've had a fair amount of Tempranillo, and this is definitely a bit of a departure in my book. This is the "new" style of Tempranillo--meaning they've ditched the suave cherry fruit in favor of much darker and extracted plum and raspberry flavors cloaked in a sheath of toasty oak. Just for the sake of clarification, I don't think that there's anything wrong with the new style. People should drink and make what they like. I'm sure at one point, making wines that were not oxidated in some fashion was the "new style." Does anyone think non-oxidated wines are bad thing? I don't know. Quality is all in the eye of the beholder. On the flip side, there is a part of me that says this wine would be a lot more interesting if it wasn't all toast. Really, if I wanted to lick a toasted wood barrel, I'd just go buy a stave, light it up, and commence with the licking. I definitely opened it up too early--you can already smell the complex spices in amongst the rather oppressive toast, "pain grille" (to use a Parker-ism) and charcoal-y aromas. This wine will gain lots of interesting nuances as it gets older--some of them are already there, and the wine is still very young. In addition to the oak and the dark fruit, this wine has a very good balance of fruit, acids, and tannins and despite the oak, comes of as quite fresh. I'm disappointed that I opened this wine so soon, and despite my reservations about the amount of oak as well as the profile of the wine, I have to say, I can't knock it. It's one of those wines that is toeing the line, and doing it in a relatively artful manner. Would I like it to have less oak influence? Yes, but I'm sure that for every person like me that is whining about it, there are 10 people that would say it should have more. Are they right? I think not, but how can we know what's good and what isn't if we don't have contrasting examples to compare? B+/A-


CabFrancoPhile said...

Sounds like a nice cocktail wine. I bet less would be better: less oak, less ripeness, less extraction. It often seems like every wine coming from Spain shoots for this style. They clearly have the right fruit for it, but I bet consumers are catching on that a lot of these are manufactured cuvees built to get high points for the export market.

I'm not sold on wines like this developing with age. In fact, I have a feeling they are built to drink well young which makes the over the top oak more upsetting. Noticeable oak in young wines meant to drink in a decade plus is one thing, but it seems silly in a wine that will be consumed young in most cases.

Jeff said...

Interesting take. I think this wine will get better in the short term--say five years or so. After that, who knows? I just don't have the experience. This does have good bones, just with a lot of oak.