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A Bull of a Wine: Numanthia Termes

In Spain, the word toro means “bull,” but it also means great wine.

Located west of Rioja and at almost 2500 ft elevation, Toro produces burly, thick, serious wine from the Tinta de toro grape (aka Tempranillo). Because of its structure and potential for long aging, historical accounts tell us that Columbus brought wine from Toro with him on his campaigns to discover the New World. Clearly, this is not the finessed, silky, red-fruited Tempranillo that made Rioja famous—this is downright bullish, both in name and character.

Numanthia Termes 2014

And since we’re talking about how names add to a wine’s character, Bodega Numanthia takes its name from an ancient civilization in Toro that fought back against the Roman conquest in the second century. Proud, fierce and unrelenting, the people of Numantia made a 20-year stand against the Romans before burning their own city to the ground rather than become slaves.

The Numanthia Termes pays homage to its history and the land through the dark, intense, powerful flavors and aromas that come through in the wine. Offering up blackberry, chocolate, toast and mineral notes, it has well-integrated tannins supporting a plush, silky-smooth texture. Ripe yet focused and packed with personality, this is one of the best Spanish values on the shelf. Drink next to a huge plate of brisket or a perfectly-grilled pepper steak.