The highest-rated Spanish wine on Decanter’s ‘Most Exciting Red Wines in 2019’ list was the popular Faustino I Gran Reserva 2009. A quintessential Rioja, it is beautifully perfumed, earthy, incredibly pure fruited and impossibly fresh….

The highest-rated Spanish wine on Decanter’s ‘Most Exciting Red Wines in 2019’ list was the popular Faustino I Gran Reserva 2009. A quintessential Rioja, it is beautifully perfumed, earthy, incredibly pure fruited and impossibly fresh. It’s going to age forever!

Bodegas Faustino has been producing Gran Reserva Rioja for 150 years and is the largest Gran Reserva house. The chalky soil of the Alavesa region, combined with traditional winemaking, produce a classical wine with remarkable structure. Only made in the best vintages, it is specially aged for 26 months in American and French oak and then another 8 years in bottle before release.

Both 2009 and 2015 were warm, near-perfect vintages delivering a healthy, ripe crop. The medium-bodied 2009 drinks easily with its extremely fine structure and fruit purity. The Reserva-level wines encompass more modern styling with shorter ageing – 18 months American oak – for the 2015 V Reserva. The Icon Edition is aged in French oak only, and offers a more powerful structure. Both will age well for a decade.

Tasting notes:

Faustino, I Gran Reserva 2009
Classic Rioja aromas of vanilla, spice, tobacco and dried berry fruits carry this wine. On the palate, this warm-vintage gran reserva has energy from well-stored acidity, while the flavors include cherry, plum, mocha and a plethora of spices. Chocolate and tobacco flavors along with general warmth crowd the finish. Drink through 2030. – Wine Enthusiast, 93/100

Plenty of characteristic toasty oak aromas. Harmonious and perfectly balanced palate, with lovely juicy fruit underpinned by lively acidity. 2020 – 2029. – Decanter, 93/100

Faustino, I Gran Reserva 2001
Restrained, mineral style with elegant tannins. Youthful and fresh, feminine and complex. Deliciously decadent, with extraordinary vitality in the palate and a long unique, finish. A jewel at this price. – Decanter, 97/100 (Voted the Best Wine in the World in 2013)

Faustino, I Gran Reserva 1995
Medium-weight and plump in the mouth, with mature aromas and flavors of tobacco, coffee, vanilla and cherry. Picks up hints of anise on the long finish. – Wine Enthusiast, 89/100 (May 2004)

Faustino, Reserva Especial Icon Edition 2015
Lots of oak here, but so well integrated with the exceptional fruit, it’s very moreish. On the palate there’s cream, leather, toast and coffee alongside succulent red fruits including raspberry and strawberry which carries the wine beautifully. It has ripe, generous tannins offset by fine acidity with a savoury tobacco pouch finish. It’s just starting to hit its stride but has a long way to go. – Decanter, 95/100 (2014 vintage)

Faustino, V Reserva 2015
Clean, bright, cherry red developing to maroon. On the nose, very intense. Well integrated aromas, sweet barrel and fruit hints. Pleasant entrance on the palate, elegant structure and balance as a whole. Medium-long finish. – Bodegas Faustino

 

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