A Closer Look at Rioja and the Wines from Bodega Faustino
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A Closer Look at Rioja and the Wines from Bodega Faustino

With 150 years in their back pocket, Bodega Faustino has grown into a fine producer, making some attractive wines coming out of the Rioja.  Easily recognized by their frosted bottles and portraits of Rembrant and composer Gluck, it is the wine inside the bottle that leaves a lasting impression:  lush, rich, and attractive, these wines are the essence of what the Tempranillo grape can offer.  Their portfolio also includes a Cava, as well as white wines and rosé.

Rioja is located in the northeastern part of Spain  near the Sierra Cantabria mountain range, which helps stop the rain,  leaving Rioja a fairly dry place.  There are 3 sections to Rijoa: Baja, Alta and Alavesa.  All produce beautiful red wines from Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Mauzleo.   White wines are made using grapes such as Viura, Verdejo, and Chardonnay for example.

Rioja has special classifications that indicate how much time the wine has spent aging on oak (if any), and they go as follows:

 Photo: Cellar Tours 



Aged with very little, if any oak, for 1 or 2 years.


Aged for 2 years: at least 1 year on oak and 1 year in the bottle


Aged for 3 years: at least 1 year on oak, and 2 years in the bottle


Aged for 5 years: at least 2 years on oak, 3 years in the bottle.

The wines coming from Rioja will only be released on the market when this aging period is complete.  That’s quite a bit of tied of capital, when you think about it.

Bodegas Faustino has wines coming from all 3 classifications, and lucky for us the Reserva and Gran Reserva is available at SAQ  stores, along with a few more of their wines through private import via Select Wines.

The wines listed below are great for anyone who loves full bodied reds with lots of flavourful fruit, with round tannins and lots of depth.  Many are ready to drink once they hit the market, but it does not mean they are not meant to cellar.  The following wines are a few of my personal favourites.

Tasting Notes

Faustino Reserva 2012  SAQ: 10857497  $18.45

Ripe cherries, blackberries and bits of red liquorice make for intriguing and concentrated flavour. A mouthwatering, juicy acidity flows with the supple fruit and dark chocolate that linger into the dry and full finish.  Drink now or in the next 4-6 years.

Faustino Gran Reserva 2005

SAQ: 10483026  $28.45

An elegant and silky wine with concentrated cherry, blackberry and strawberry fruit. The palate is round and plump, without it being too heavy.  The fruit is harmoniously balanced with dark chocolate, vanilla and coffee grain.  The refined tannins add a bit of texture, as does the refreshing acidity, making this wine so very drinkable.  The flavours dance on the palate, long after the sip is gone. Excellent quality.  Drink now or in on the next 6-8 years.

Faustino Gran Reserva 1994

SAQ : 11427325  $61.75

Notes of cherries, cranberries, and raisin dominate as it evolves into more earth, espresso and fig.  Great acidity with soft and supple tannins.  Rich notes of leather and balsamic show on the complex and persistent finish.  Drink now.

Photo: saq.com