La Rioja: Faustino 1 and V

Faustino 1 and V

Faustino V, Rioja Reserva 2005, 13.5%, €13.32 Venta Mugica (Ibardin).

This is very smooth, dry, with a decent bit of spice, medium bodied, lingering finish. The bottle, as is usual, is frosted but comes without a net. Proposed pairings for this dark aromatic red include red meats, poultry with spicy sauces and mild cheeses. Fairly widely available here from, among others, Superquin and O’Brien's. Highly recommended.

Faustino 1, Rioja Gran Reserva 1999, 13.5%, €17.00 Venta Mugica (Ibardin).

This dark red, in the net, is a blend of Tempranillo (85%), Graciano (10) and Mazuelo (5). Nose is of red fruit with balsamic notes. It is very smooth and rounded, well balanced; no big rush on the palate but rather elegant all the way to the finish. Produced only in the very good years and this is a very recent release. There was also one in 1998 and it is unusual to get two in a row. Some top pundits reckon 1996 is the best. Very highly recommended

Nine Million Bottles!
Bodegas Faustino are one of La Rioja’s most famous producers and one of the biggest also, according to that excellent book, The Fine Wines of Rioja, who say they have a permanent stock of 9,000,000 bottles! They make quite a few wines, including Cava. The Gran Reserva, aged for a long time and released a decade or more after the harvest, is your classical Gran Rioja.