Faustino Reserva V 2002

faustino-v-2002I’ve been clearing out a few notes over the weekend, not as successful as I’d hoped but anyway. The reserva and gran reserva level is where Faustino really delivers, and this shows what they can do even in a poor vintage. Very traditional, but also very good.

A nose of vanilla, strawberry and cherry compote and toasty oak. Very smooth with lush tannins and sparkly acid,. Very easy to drink, meaty and enjoyable. Cherry, mulberry and a touch of blackberry with a bit of coconut, vanilla and dark choclate on the plate. A long finish with plenty of herby goodness. Well priced too. 90 Pts

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $37 Closure: Cork

Web: www.bodegasfaustino.es

Faustino VII 2006

Faustino VII 2006Work is extremely busy at the moment, hence the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks. I have a backlog of notes to get through, so I’ll post a chunk of them this weekend. On a better note, I’ve finally booked some flights to Spain for Feb next year. I’m planning to do a full week in Rioja with a few side trips here and there, plus some R & R in San Sebastian. Can’t wait.

This is the entry level ‘traditional’ wine from Faustino, 95% Tempranillo with 5% Mazuelo that makes a home in American oak for 10 months.

Sour cherry and strawberries on the nose, a touch of coconut and wild herbs. Gutsy and fresh in the mouth with some subtle tannins and good acid from front to back. More of the same on the palate, it’s well structured and firm, but easy to drink and enjoyable. I’m surprised at how good this is, highly enjoyable, plenty of savour fruit and a long finish. It would do well in the cellar for a couple of years too. 88+ Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $20 Closure: Cork

Web: www.bodegasfaustino.es

Pintia 2004

Pintia 2004I had a bottle of this about 3 months ago, unfortunately it was corked. Here is the replacement. This is a big, beautiful monster. Its also very young and needs to banished to the cellar for at least 5 years to sort itself out. The price is starting to get up there, I would personally go for Numanthia or Pago la Jara at this price point.

The book is The Spanish Cockpit by Franz Borkenau. Its a first person account of the Spanish civil. It’s more of a diary of his travels around Spain in ’36 and ’37 with the Government forces (the revolutionaries and ultimate loosers in the war) . An interesting read, but heavy going if you’re not familiar with the topic.

Deep and dark in glass with a powerful nose of coffee beans, coco, lashings of blackberry and dark cherry with nutmeg, sage and earth. This is a very serious wine, concentrated and powerful, rich and youthful. The palate shows a similar profile, but adds some hot tarmac and a few leafy herbs. A very long finish with a touch of minerals. It shut down about 3 hours in, this is one for the cellar.  92+ Pts.

Source: Retail Price: $104 Closure: Conventional Cork

Toscar Monastrell 2006

Toscar Monastrell 2006The QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) winner from earlier this year is back with the 2006 edition. And if anything it’s more convincing. We didn’t do much on cup day, I had a heap of work to do, but I cracked this open with some albóndigas con tomates about 6 o’clock.

A very classic Monastrell nose of earthy, animally plum and cherry, with a touch of honey and spice. In the mouth there is a rustic feel to it, the tannins and well defined and soft with a longish finish. Well balanced and fresh, with plenty of fruit, the palate shows more plum and cherry, herby undergrowth and black pepper, ink and gamey highlights. Maybe it was the food, but this looks more complete than the 2005. Still a hands down bargain. 89 Pts.

Source: Ce Soir Imports Price: $14 Closure: Conventional Cork

Faustino V Rosado 2007

Faustino V Rosado 2007I think the slightly frosted bottle works best on this rosado, the wine is a brilliant colour and it’s good rose. 100% Tempranillo on skins for 18 hours. The numbers (i.e. Faustino V, VII and I) refer to the quality level as far as I can tell…

Oh and don’t do the usual rose thing and chill the crap out of it, this bottle shows much better if you take it out of the fridge half and hour before drinking.

A bit of the ol’ toffee apple on the nose with strawberry and light cherry. It’s a bit smoky and rocky too. Traditional rose style in the mouth (as opposed to the more white wine like roses), well balanced. Robust flavours of apple and cherry, a few strawberries and a touch of lemon and bitter herbs on the generous finish. 87 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $20 Closure: Cork

Web: www.bodegasfaustino.es

Faustino Crianza 2005

Faustino Crianza 2005Along with their traditional wines, Faustino have a range of ‘modern’ wines. The more wines I drink from Rioja, the more and more variations I see on what ‘modern’ means. In this case, it means 100% tempranillo, french and american oak, riper and more fruit forward wine. This is a cracking wine for the price, the updated label goes a long way too.

Bright red cherry and plum on the nose, with some cinnamon and spice, just a touch of herby undergrowth. Open for business in the mouth, some up market tannins and a excellent balance. More cherry on the palate with a touch of strawberry and mulberry, some cola and pepper. It’s medium bodied, not too demanding on the palate and balanced. Everything you want in a Rioja crianza. Well priced too. 90 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $27 Closure: Cork

Web: www.bodegasfaustino.es

Pleno Viura 2007

Pleno Viura 2007In contrast to the Faustino from yesterday, there is this little number from just across the boarder in Navarra. It’s Viura again with a more Gen Y style (Fun and modern, not sure if it has an iPhone tho).

Spicy and toasty lees character is the first thing I get here, then some lemon and pear, a shake of white pepper. It’s sweet smelling and summery. Like me, it’s a little flabby and sweet in the middle, but overall it’s savoury with more lees characters, pear and tangy baking apples, a bit of talc. Fun and funky, it’s a bit quirky and I like that. A BBQ crowd pleaser. 87 Pts.

Source: Heart and Soil Price: $15 Closure: Screwcap

Faustino V Blanco 2007

Faustino V Blanco 2007Faustino is one of those wines that just about everyone remembers for the packaging. It is quite old school, kind of like wicker baskets on Chianti bottles, but I kind of like it in a strange way. I have 6 different wines from Faustino in the tasting pile, so get used to this bloke’s face.

I’d not had the white or rosado from these guys before and I was very happy to find some honest and typical Riojan examples of young white and rose wine. This is unwooded Viura from 25 year old vines, fermentation is in stainless tanks.

A big woft of lemons on the first sniff, it mellows out with a bit pear and nettle with some freshly mown grass. Textural with more pear and cactus juice, nice linear acid and a long finish. Good with food or something a bit different out on the patio. 87 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $20 Closure: Cork

Web: www.bodegasfaustino.es