On my last trip to Germany a few months back I gifted a friend few bottles of Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 from Bodegas Faustino and we savored one together. Little did I know that Bacchus had bigger plans for me, the wine is now available in India and I was privee to a tasting of the 2001, 1995 and the 1971 vintages at a wine dinner curated by Kadambari Kapoor of Gusto imports at the Chambers ,Taj Mahal Hotel.
Rocio Marin of Gruppo Faustino was in town to lead the tasting of 7 wines over a 4 course meal. The evening began with a Faustino Cava Brut from the Rioja Alavesa regions, the bubbly made from Viura and Chardonnay with 26 months of lees aging had balanced autolytic and citrus aromas and was rather too crisp for a brut. The first course of Asparagus and Cranberry parfait went beautifully with the Faustino 2014 Crianza Tempranillo rose which was redolent of sweet spice, red fruits, subtle oxidative aromas and with a colour a few shades lighter than a pinot noir. Marin said, ‘Many producers are making paler roses like the popular Provence ones but we like to stick to tradition and macerate the skins for the perfect colour and flavour.’
The third and the fourth wines were the Faustino Crianza 2012 and the Reserva 20009, the former was Fruity and no fuss whist the latter showed bottle aged vegetal notes and earthy elements apart from delicate black fruit. Tempranillo which comes from Temprano meaning early ripening loves a cooler climate and the Rioja Alavesa cooled by the Atlantic provides the perfect condition for these to gather phenolic ripeness which aids aging potential. This perhaps explained the wines lined up to be paired with a forest mushroom and truffle Mille Feuille with aged gruyere followed by the chocolate velvet cake.
The 2001 Faustino Rioja Gran Reserva a sand blasted bottle one can’t miss is slated to be the best vintage of the 21st century for Faustino just like their 1964 from the 20th. The 2001 was deep ruby and with velvety tannins, there was black fruit with mushroom and forest floor notes and the finish was quite medium, I felt it was racing towards its peak. The 1995 which came up next felt even younger with a deeper ruby shade, very powerful tannins with luscious fruit, spice and cedar aromas this one seemed it could live forever. And the highlight of the evening was the 1971 which showed a pale garnet with a nose full of prunes and honey with subtle notes of spice and black fruit jam, it showed body and moderate acidity with a short to medium finish. The last two paired with the chocolate dessert wonderfully.
Spanish wines overall offer great value for money and Faustino with their portfolio in India should entice the Indian consumer. You can check Faustino wines and more from the Gusto portfolio here