Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Numanthia 2002 (billy)

This is a wine that I was intending to save but, after a 20 hour day at the office yesterday and being able to leave at 5 today, I could think of no better celebratory reason to open this bottle than the prospect of a dinner with my family.

We reviewed this 2002 vintage back in January (here) and the 2000 vintage, also reviewed in January (here). We told you then that the wine would not stay a $20 (or so) wine for long and we were right. I paid $51 for this bottle. To be sure, this is a bit above national average but it is not the most expensive pricing out there.

While the increasing price point may be a drag, it is also clear evidence that this is a very special wine. Many wines, especially to the new oenophiles such as myself, fall into one of three experience categories: Tent Wine(party wine, cough syrup, take it on a camping trip just to have some wine-wine), wine wine ("it tastes like wine"), and something special. This is definitely something special. It outclasses most other reds you would normally buy for an average dinner - as should anything over 40 bucks a pop.

This is a pleasingly complex wine. There are strong dark fruit on the nose and deep black cherries as the wine opens up. Hints of chocolate, black licorice, leather and smoke round out the nose. In the mouth the Numanthia 2002 is velvety and full and the finish, pleasingly tannic. Not grassy or green like a cab but mellow and lingering.

This wine went as well with crème brulee as it did with a garlic infused seitan main course.

Perhaps the nicest aspect of this wine is that it demands to be savored. Its complexity lends itself well to a thoughtful encounter where you take your time to explore its flavor facets. This might be contrasted with a wine that you buy on reputation or to impress clients. Those have their place, but after the label is acknowledged the actual wine may be quaffed or not. The 2002 Numanthia, on the other hand, is not imposing from a fad perspective. It is imposing from a flavor perspective and is one that requires that you reflect as you drink.

All in all, a philosophical wine, to be enjoyed when there is cause and as funds allow, but not one to be taken for granted.

raise a glass

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