Faustino Rioja is one of the world’s favourite Rioja wines, and comes from the historic Bodegas Faustino. This family-owned outfit has been making wine since 1861, and is well known for its consistently high quality wine and its eye-catching bottle designs, usually featuring distinguished paintings of Flemish-style noble figures and with specially designed bottles featuring frosted effects.
A brief history of Faustino Rioja
As we have said, the story dates back to 1861. The winery was founded by one Eleuterio Martinez Arzok, who bought vineyard land in Rioja Alavesa. Arzok’s plan was to produce bulk wine, which he did very well for many years to follow. In 1930, the operation was taken over by his son Faustino Martinez Perez de Albeniz, who began to bottle the wine for the first time. The winery began to develop a reputation for its quality, and Arzok’s grandson Julio Faustino began exporting in 1960. Today, Faustino Rioja has around 650 hectares of vineyards, produces a wide range of wines and is the leading exporter of Gran Reserva Rioja in the world.
The wines of Faustino Rioja
Bodegas Faustino produces a distinctive range of wines, which can be spotted by their unique bottle styles as well as their use of roman numerals in their names.
- Faustino I Gran Reserva 2006 is the current release of Faustino I, Faustino’s flagship wine and the world’s most exported Gran Reserva Rioja. It is a complex and nuanced wine, a blend of mostly Tempranillo with smaller amounts of Graciano and Carignan. The long ageing in oak barrels – 28 months for this vintage – imparts a maturity to the wine and layers of tertiary characteristics including vanilla and coffee. Despite its long time in wood, the wine maintains a substantial fruity character. There is great balance: You can still taste the red fruit and cherry flavours here and by no means are they overpowered by the oak. With an impressive 91 points from Guía Peñín, it is not surprising that this wine is so popular. Decanted and paired with dry-aged beef or game birds, this is a truly sublime example of what Faustino Rioja can do.
- Faustino V Reserva 2010 is a highly dependable and keenly-priced Rioja Reserva. A blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, this has scored 88 points from Guía Peñín. There is without doubt an oak backbone here from its Reserva-level ageing time, so again you’ll want to decant this in order to get the most from it. This’ll pair very well with our five classic food pairings for Rioja Reserva.
- Faustino Crianza 2012 is a fun Faustino Rioja: There is just enough oak ageing to add structure, though the fruit is the star of the show. No need to decant, this one is ripe and ready to give immediate pleasure. 100% Tempranillo, this one is altogether quite versatile when it comes to food – hearty stews, thick steaks and aged cheeses are all great matches. You can also enjoy a glass of this all by itself.
- Faustino VII 2013 is another ripe and easy-drinking Crianza wine. If you ever find it hard to remember which Faustino Rioja is which, just remember that Faustino I will be the oldest and most complex, and as the numerals go up you will get a younger, simpler wine ready to drink quickly. This one is pure Tempranillo and will be great by itself as well as with all manner of roasts, stews and vegetable dishes.