Easy to Find Everyday Rioja

Today’s Story: Bodegas Faustino

Bodegas Faustino is a large, family-owned winery established in 1861 by Eleuterio Martínez Arzok in Oyón, Spain. Eleuterio purchased the manor house and existing vineyards of the property with a plan of producing wine and ramping up bulk production and improving quality over time. Around 1920, Faustino Martínez Pérez de Albéniz helped reconstruct the vineyards (which were destroyed by phylloxera) and later took over. One of his major accomplishments was being the first to bottle the family’s wine. In 1957, the winery leadership transitioned to third-generation Julio Faustino Martínez who, during the 1960s, established the Faustino brand and was the first to create an international market for their wines. Today the brand’s wines can be found in over 70 countries and the Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva accounts for over 30% of all Gran Reserva DOCa Rioja sold around the world.

Bodegas Faustino currently owns about 650 hectares of vineyards in the DOCa Rioja, making them one of the largest vineyard owners in all of Rioja. The Faustino winery is also quite large to keep up with the vast production of wines shipped all over the world, with barrel rooms which hold about 50,000 oak barrels and cellars that hold about 9 million bottles at a given time. To learn more about Bodegas Faustino and explore their wide range of wines, check out the website here. To learn more about Faustino I in particular, visit here.

Today’s Wine: 2006 Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva

86% Tempranillo, 9% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo; 13.5% ABV

The 2006 Faustino I is opaque medium to deep ruby in color. I gave this 2 hours to decant, which it needed to blow some of the oak and heat off the wine. Once opened, the nose emits aromas of fig, brambleberry, black cherry, cola, cigar box, truffle, forest floor, dill, mineral, and oak. On the palate, I get notes of plum, blackberry pie, tart cherry, dried earth, cedar, baking spice, chocolate, vanilla, and charred oak. This is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium tannins, and a medium length finish.

Price: $27. I think this is a decent value Rioja for anyone new to exploring the region and its wines. The nose is certainly better than the palate in my opinion (palate still a bit people-pleasing) and this must be accompanied by food. Please, please, please give it some air before enjoying as well, as this really did start showing nicely at the 2-3 hour mark.

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