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Lowi: Numanthia has moved away from 200% new oak

Lucas Lowi, estate director of Bodega Numanthia in Toro, has revealed that the estate has moved its top wine Termanthia away from the 200% new oak, highly concentrated style favoured by Robert Parker due to changing consumer tastes.

Old bush vines in Toro owned by Bodega Numanthia

Speaking during a tasting of the Bodega Numanthia range in London this week, Lowi said that the LVMH-owned winery had changed its approach.

“Since the 2015 vintage there has been an evolution in the style of Termanthia. From 2015 onwards we stopped ageing the wine in 200% new oak.

“We have to recognise that trends change and that the Parker style of wine that you need a knife and fork to drink is no longer enjoyable.

Lucas Lowi, estate director of Numanthia

“We’re now making Termanthia in a more approachable style so that the wine is more drinkable. It used to be very oaky and highly concentrated.

“In order to achieve more freshness and fruitiness in the wine we’re picking the grapes earlier and are extracting more gently – our tannin management has taken years to perfect.

“We’re also ageing the wine in more used oak and larger barrels to lessen the oak influence. As a winery, it’s important to evolve, but at the same time we want to keep our identity and house style.

Having perhaps rushed the wines to market in the past, Lowi said the estate is ageing Termanthia for longer in bottle before it goes on sale.

“We used to release Termanthia quite soon onto the market, but we want to age the wine in bottle and not release it until it’s ready,” he said.

Lowi’s revelation shows just how far the estate has evolved. During an interview with db in 2013, Numanthia’s then winemaker, Manuel Louzada, said that 200% was “the right way forward” for Termanthia.

With an RRP of £200, around 10,000 bottles of top wine Termanthia are produced each year, while the production of Numanthia is around 80,000 bottles per year.

The bodega has just launched a third wine, called Termes, in the UK, which aims to show the fresher side of Toro, and from the 2017 vintage has been aged solely in used oak.

The estate’s three wines are made from 200 hectares of land in Toro, 80 of which are owned by LVMH and are certified organic, and 40 of which are leased. The other 80 hectares are owned by grower partners.

The jewel in Numanthia’s crown is a half hectare plot of bush vines that are thought to be over 200 years old. “We get ridiculously low yields from the plot but the concentration of the grapes is amazing,” Lowi said.

He also revealed that the estate has been experimenting with micro vinifications and may release bottlings from single plots down the line to show off the different character of the terroirs in Toro.

“We’re really excited about certain plots, particularly the 200-year-old vineyard,” he said. The bodega also makes a tiny amount of barrel fermented old vine Malvasia that spends six months on its lees, which is only available to the Spanish market.

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