February 10, 2020
If you pass by the shelf, it’s a bottle that immediately catches your eye among all the dark glass standing sentinel among the rows. While we’re taught not to judge a wine by the bottle or the label, you can’t help but notice this one looks like nothing else.
Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja is distinctive for a few reasons; maybe it’s the wide gold netting that clings to the bottle. Perhaps it’s the rough, sandy-looking bottle, or maybe it’s the Rembrandt portrait looking back at you. Either way, there’s something about this bottle of wine that’s enticing.
The 2001 Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja is a remarkable wine. It’s earned over 90 points from three separate prestigious wine publications; Wine Spectator gave it 93 points, Wine Enthusiast bestowed 92 points, and Decanter Magazine gave it an astounding 97 points. The critics like it, but what does that mean for you? It means you’ll get a bold, drinkable, highly refined wine that you’re bound to enjoy.
Grupo Faustino Wines Has a Rich History Dating Back to the 1800’s
Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja comes from a prestigious family-owned winery, founded in 1861. Grupo Faustino makes a number of well known Spanish wines from five growing areas in Spain; Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Navarra, La Mancha, and Cava. Some of Faustino’s best wines are its Gran Reservas from Rioja.
Gran Reserva wines are specially selected wines from exceptional vintages which have spent at least two years in oak casks and three years in the bottle. The Gran Reserva level of Rioja wines come from grape vines that are at least 50 years old, and they spend at least 28 months in both French and American oak.
Faustino actually ages the Gran Reserva wines “for as long as the wine needs,” which means a new release of Faustino I Gran Reserva is often 10 years old or older when you first see them available in Co-op Wine Spirits Beer.
So what’s the story behind the frosty bottle? From the beginning, Faustino used a dark-coloured, etched bottle. This helps reduce the impact of temperature changes, and it cuts down on how much light gets into the bottle.
Winery workers used to etch or rough up every bottle by hand with sand and hot water, and in the 1960’s and 70’s in particular, the bottles were distinctive because this etching process was rather imperfect. While this process is more mechanical now, and done before the bottles are filled, that light gold netting is still placed on each individual bottle by hand.
That portrait on the label, by the way, was done in 1641 by the artist Rembrandt. It’s of Nicolas van Bambeek, a clothing merchant. The portrait is on display at the winery, and its place on the label hasn’t changed in over 70 years.
That’s the story of the bottle, and the history, but what about what’s inside?
Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja is a beautiful ruby hue in the glass. It’s got a clean, bright taste, with wide fruity and spicy notes. It’s complex, thanks to that barrel aging and has a long, silky finish.
Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja pairs beautifully with any kind of meat, and particularly well with a nice mushroom risotto. You can also serve it alongside a meaty or oily fish such as tuna or cod, and it balances nicely with nutty cheeses like emmental or gruyere.
Next time you’re cruising the aisles at Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, pay a visit to Spain, and look out for Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja, particularly if you’d like to enjoy a bottle of wine with a rich history, that gets acclaim from wine experts.
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