Yes, it is suitably confusing when a winery names a wine after itself, so here's a little break down of the Numanthia portfolio. The Termes is the base wine, a blend of younger vineyards of Tinto de Toro from the Toro region in Spain. Tinto de Toro is a synonym for Tempranillo, though in Toro, the grapes have become ideally suited to the rugged conditions that very low rainfall and loose and sandy, free-draining soils have created.
The Numanthia Lineup
Termes is intended to be the ambassador of Toro in Numanthia's lineup. It is a friendly introduction to the grape and style of Toro and the base of the Numanthia pyramid in many ways. Numanthia's Numanthia, on the other hand, is produced from a blend of almost 200 plots of land with old vine vineyards at altitude. This represents the best the region can offer. With this wine, the yields are low and all work is done by hand to ensure that each bottle delivers the essense of these old vines, which are 70 to over 100 years old.
Finally, at the pinnacle of the Numanthia pyramid, one finds Termanthia. Produced from a single plot of ancient pre-phylloxera vines (some of which are well over 120 years old) and located at an altitude of 800 meters, the wine shows the ideal expression of site, that magical notion known as terroir. Termanthia is an expression as much of vintage as it is of grape and soil. Hand harvested, foot trod and always coming from those same vines, the wine gives you a peek into each vintage's character in the unique style imparted by long time winemaker Manuel Lozada!
The Venue and the Menu
Dinner was held at the newly opened Château Cherbuliez in New York. The venue is billed as a " luxurious indoor-outdoor wine bar and french restaurant from Dual Groupe and chef Todd English. Located in the iconic Limelight building in Chelsea."
It is a beautiful space with decidedly beautiful people, I might add, located in the Limelight Building, which was formerly home to one of NYC's most notorious night clubs! The location itself was a promising start to our evening!
Our menu consisted of four courses:
Mushroom Consomme with Quail Egg Yolk
Smoked Scallops with Mushrooms, Lardo and Foie Gras Sauce
Short Ribs with Parsnip Puree, Roasted Salsify, Brussel Sprouts and Numanthia Red Wine Sauce
Francois Payard Desserts
The first course was a Mushroom Consomme. It was served as we finished our Champagne Aperitif and while the 2007 Numanthia was being poured. The wine was decanted as we had a 5 liter bottle to share!
The soup was richly flavored, with the egg yolk adding a creaminess to the mid-palate. The Numanthia was tight in the glass and its having been decanted for better than an hour did little to move it along. The 5 liter bottle had not allowed the wine to develop much since bottling, though it did show a wonderful elegance of texture and great balance, which was mirrored in the soup and made for a surprisingly adept pairing.
I must admit, I do not recall ever eating a smoked scallop prior to this, but this dish was brilliant, particularly so when remembering that it was designed specifically to be paired with the 2008 Numanthia. The lardo, mushrooms and foie all came together to make for remarkably savory and red wine-friendly flavors, but I still thought that scallop was going to pose some problems.
The smokiness, light to be sure but noticable and aromatic in the mouth, served as a perfect bridge to allow the dish to work with the open and richly fruited 2008 Numanthia. This wine was a more transparent example of Numanthia than the 2007, being quite approachable but decidedly complex and engaging.
The no brainer of the evening was the short rib. Intense and dense with great flavor, it was destined to be a perfect match for the wine considering the sauce was prepared with Numanthia. It's not often that one gets to dine on such fare! The dish was expertly prepared and proved very adept at handling the power, richness and structure of the Termanthia, this one again from 2008.
Perhaps it was my palate that evening, but here again with the Termanthia, I tasted a wine that was as rich and powerful as previous vintages had been yet perhaps with more lightness of foot. The wines showed very well indeed and this pairing in particular was really on the money.
I can't say that I am much of a dessert guy and, in truth, I only tasted each of these pies from Payard Bakery, but this picture was simply too good not to use!
I'm not a believer in dry red wine with sweet desserts, but it should be noted that the 2008 Numanthia handled this decadence quite well.