Far from a wine that jumps up and comes bounding over to you, tail a-wagging, tongue a-panting, all eager to please, the Faustino Rioja Gran Reserva is decidedly restrained. Noble and distinguished, many say. On the nose, it’s a confluence of wet rocks, toast, cloves and leather. On the palate, it’s lightly spicy and full of velvety tannins. Ends on a satisfying note and a long, lingering finish.
The Gran Reserva exhibits all the hallmarks of a traditional style of Rioja, which has gone through slow fermentation, a lot of time ageing in oak and bottle before release. If all you’ve tried are new world-style Riojas with their abundant fresh fruits, bright acidity and bold flavors, you will want to give this traditionalist a try.
One of Spain’s great bodegas, Faustino dates back to 1861 and is today, amazingly, still family-owned. Certainly among the great value red wines out there.