by Guest Contributor Pablo Echenique

“El que resiste, gana”. Such was the motto that the Spanish literature Nobel Prize winner, the late Camilo José Cela chose as ex libris to stamp in all his books. He who resists, shall win, as it would be said in English. I have borrowed it as a particular motto for myself. Perhaps because of my day-to-day work in a quite demanding Madrid law firm. The other Friday, after a long and busy week, I got out of the office and decided that I deserved to drink a good bottle of wine. I headed to a quite unknown street in Madrid that is home to three first class stores that sell three things any man adores, wine, cigars and classic films of all times, calle Hernani.

When I entered the wine shop, I could notice that Camilín, the owner (I suppose that he has nothing to do with Mr. Cela), stared at me probably thinking that I really needed a break. After a few minutes of conversation I asked him about the famous “Parker List” and the Spanish wines included in such a list. He quickly named the five wines awarded with 100 points, as if he was reciting the “Our Father”. Of all five, a name called my attention “Termanthia”, a wine from Toro (a region in the old Castille, province of Zamora). I decided to save the €100 for some romantic occasion next summer but he introduced me to Termanthia’s younger brother “Numanthia”. The price of the bottle, € 29, was more friendly for a budget wine drinker like me, so I did not hesitate to buy it.

Numanthia is a perfect fruit of the well commented wine revolution experienced in Spain in recent years. A few families have demonstrated that it is possible to create superb wines in regions beyond La Rioja and Ribera del Duero. As Camilín pointed out to me, the Egurens (a family from Rioja Alta) is one of such families, that have achieved some top wines that are the result of the latest techniques applied to traditional methods.

Numanthia is named after the legendary Iberian city that endured the attacks of the Roman legions for 18 long years, some 150 years before Christ. The name was chosen as a tribute to the resistance of Spanish wine stocks to the terrible plague of phylloxera, suffered in the last years of the XIX century.

How good is to end a week of hard work drinking Numanthia with the firm belief that “he who resists, shall win”; just like our brave ancestors, the inhabitants of the Castilian meseta.

by guest contributor Pablo Echenique