Bodegas Faustino 1 Gran Reserva 1996

I was pleasantly surprised on one of my recent trips to my favorite wine shop The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan as the first wine that they poured for me was Bodegas Faustino 1 Gran Reserva Rioja 1996.  And they asked me, if I had ever had it before.  First, I told them, that I haven’t come across that many Gran Reserva wines in my travels.  Second, I told them that I almost came close to having a later vintage of this wine at a restaurant, but luckily, I stopped them from cutting the foil and the mesh, and discovered that it was a Reserva, not a Gran Reserva as listed on the Wine Carte.

Bodegas Faustino is one of the leading Rioja producers and they export to over seventy countries; and they make up about a third of the total exports of Rioja Reserva and Gran Reserva from Spain.  It was founded by Eleuaterio Martinez Arzok in 1861 in Alava.  Its fame came in the late 1950s when Julio Faustino Martinez began exporting the wines.  In Rioja they offer from Crianza to Gran Reserva, and offer both red and white varieties.  They also offer Cava wines and Rosado wines.  They have also expanded beyond Rioja to Navarra, La Mancha, Ribera del Duero and they have created Grupo Faustino.

Bodegas Faustino 1 Gran Reserva 1996 is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo.  They have about six-hundred-fifty hectares across the three Riojas and with different elevations, but all basically on calcareous clay soil.  There is a minimum of thirty-eight months of aging in a mix of American and French barrels.  The label shows a painting by Rembrandt van Rijn of Nicolaes Van Bambeeck on a frosted bottle and the legendary copper chicken wire protection on each bottle.  For a twenty-six-year-old the wine still had a nice garnet color, maybe slightly orange halo at the edge, but no brick color aging.  On the nose there were notes of dark fruit, leather, cocoa and balsamic.  On the palate black cherry, ripe fruit and prunes with additional notes of green pepper and black pepper.  The tannins were totally silky, lush and elegant a soft, medium count of terroir.  It was just a beautiful wine and the day was just beginning.  

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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