Bigger and bolder is not always better. The demand for powerful, ‘Parkerised’ wines, that once dominated, is fading as consumers now seek out tradition, authenticity and elegance. Gran Reserva Rioja is a…

Bigger and bolder is not always better. The demand for powerful, ‘Parkerised’ wines, that once dominated, is fading as consumers now seek out tradition, authenticity and elegance. Gran Reserva Rioja is a case in point – highlighted succinctly by Eric Asimov in the NY Times article, Soul in a World of Bold Fruit. Almost forgotten as a category a decade ago, demand for traditional, long-ageing Rioja is at a new high.

Bodegas Faustino has been producing Gran Reserva Rioja for 150 years and is the largest Gran Reserva house. The chalky soils of the Alavesa region gives the wine remarkable freshness and structure; allowing for decades of ageing. Their Gran Reserva is only made in the best vintages and released far later than Rioja law requires.

The 2001 was Decanter’s Wine of the Year in 2013, with a huge 97 points, while the current 2005 vintage is beautifully fresh, expressive and pure. ‘A benchmark for a long ageing Rioja with quality,’ writes Decanter, but how long will this classic age? Find out for yourself with limited bottles of 2001, 1994, 1986, 1970 and 1964 available!

Simply put, a wine of this age with this kind of quality and poise is an absolute bargain and an imperative for any cellar.

Tasting notes:

Faustino, I Gran Reserva 2005 
A wine that is evolving slowly, leaving behind a complex savoury character which mingles with red plums, vanilla and full grainy tannins. A benchmark for a long ageing Rioja with quality. Drinking window: 2017-2025. – Decanter, 93/100

Fresh and lively, this red shows bright fruit and spice flavours, with cherry, berry, vanilla and anise notes that mingle over light tannins and orange peel acidity. Harmonious and graceful, expressive and alluring. – Wine Spectator, 93/100

This wine offers a mix of floral, berry and earthy aromas on the nose. It reflects its fine vintage, displaying firm tannins on a tight palate. Dried plum, cherry, tomato and herbal flavors finish with tension and wiry freshness. Drink through 2027. – Wine Enthusiast, 92/100

 

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