This Leather-Clad Wine Barrel Will Be an Instant Collector's Item
For the fiercest of wine collectors, Bodega Numanthia—in partnership with luxury fashion brand Loewe—has created the ultimate keepsake: a 225-liter French oak barrel covered in leather and personalized to the buyer. Oh, it also comes with wine.
The barrels are available for purchase now, for 95,000 Euros or about $112,000. But it's more than the barrels' high price that make them the ultimate collector's item. It's what these two powerhouses bring together that makes them almost priceless.
Both houses, if you will, are steeped in Spanish history: Bodega Numanthia produces powerful and intense wines with tinta del toro grapes grown in vineyards that survived the Phylloxera plague of the 19th century. Loewe—founded in 1846—is one of Spain's most renowned luxury fashion brands, creating exclusive leather goods and other wearables.
The collaboration between the two brands simply made sense, Loewe CEO Pascale Lepoivre explained in a prepared statement. "Bodega Numanthia and Loewe share a common essence that made this collaboration very coherent from the beginning," she said. "Both are Spanish and luxury brands with more than a century of history and are driven by the pursuit of excellence and the importance of craftsmanship."
Bodega Numanthia CEO Jean-Guillaume Prats told Food & Wine that when it came time to decide with whom to collaborate on these limited edition barrels, the brand "wished to collaborate with a luxury house that shared the same attention to details and quest for excellence as Bodega Numanthia. Loewe is the [epitome] of Spanish chic—a house that crafts leather in a unique way and that never ceases to draw on its roots to create its refined collections." Drawing a comparison with great wines, Prats adds, "I appreciate the passion involved in the making of [these] fashion collections, the vibrancy of the colors, and the diversity of shades and textures."
The barrels were unveiled last week at a private event held in Madrid. Media and brand insiders toured Casa Loewe, the fashion house's flagship store before the big reveal, which was held at a separate location. Five barrels—one for each tint available—were on display, and guests were eager to run their hands over the supple leather and tight white stitching. (One guest was overheard promising to buy one in navy.) Afterward, guests were treated to a fine three-course meal, which included heavy pours of a 2006 Termanthia, 2010 Termanthia Magnum, and 2012 Termanthia Magnum.
Each French oak barrel will be covered in one of five tints—tan, black, oxblood, navy or red leather—at the discretion of the buyer, who will also be able to choose from seven additional tints for his or her initials, which will be added to the barrel using the leather marquetry, a technique that requires extreme precision, the brand says.
The barrel will be shipped directly to the buyer's home as early as December 2018, along with bottles of a 2016 vintage Termanthia, which will be delivered in 75 mL, 1,500 mL, 5 L, or 12 L bottles—again, at the buyer's discretion. If you were to select the 750 mL size, for example, you would receive 300 bottles of 2016 Termanthia.
The labels on the bottles of wine can also be customized to meet the buyer's wishes.
Lucas Löwi, Bodega Numanthia's estate director, recommends that the bottles stay corked until 2019 for optimum flavor. Termanthia is produced from the vineyard's oldest vines—the same vines that survived the 19th century Phylloxera plague. And those vines produce just 1,300 kilos of grapes per hectare, making Termanthia the brand's most exclusive wine, renowned for its complexity and finesse, Löwi says.
The barrels can be purchased from the Moët Hennessy private boutique in Paris.