Faustino VII Tempranillo 2010
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Lively red, shading to ochre. Hints of vanilla and ripe red berry fruit. Well-balanced, velvety, elegant.
Wine Spectator - "Flavors of cherry, tobacco and light earth remain harmonious through the spicy finish in this polished red. Moderate tannins and balsamic acidity impart balance. A traditional style."
In the mid 1800s, Eleuterio Martinez Arzok took his first steps toward establishing himself as a producer and merchant of wines from the Rioja region of Spain. He started out by selling his wines in the Rioja and Basque regions, direct from the barrel. Much has changed since then and the winery he founded has since become known as one of the premier fine wine producers of the Rioja region.
In the late 1950s, his similarly adventurous descendant, Julio Faustino Martinez, launched the family-owned label in both national and international markets. Today, Bodegas Faustino is Rioja's largest exporter of Gran Reserva wines. The winner of numerous awards and gold medals in international competitions and tastings, Bodegas Faustino is a proud custodian of the Rioja region's growing international reputation as a source of truly world-class fine wines.
With 1600 acres of its own vineyards, Faustino is self-sufficient in producing its Reserva and Gran Reserva wines. The vineyards are located in the upper part of Rioja Alavesa at an altitude of between 1500 and 1800 feet. The climate is cool, influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, and the vines thrive in the chalky soil. The state-of-the-art Faustino winery has a stock of 45,000 barriques, 80% of which are American oak. The winery maintains a permanent stock of 9 million bottles of Reserva and Gran Reserva wines. View all Faustino Wines
About Rioja(ree-OH-hah) Spain makes some of the best Tempranillo-based wines in the world. Once the only DOCa (recently joined by Priorat in 2001), Rioja is divided into 3 sub-regions: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa. There are 4 red varieties and 3 white varieties allowed in the Rioja DOC. Tempranillo definitely takes center stage, followed by Garnacha (Grenache)), which is sometimes added for body, then Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan). The region also makes roses. For whites, the main grape is Viura (or Macebo), producing fresh, early-drinking wines. Malvasia, the grape that was once the most planted white, is found less often.
Notable FactsThe Rioja wine trade is somewhat confusing. Grapes are typically brought to a merchant's bodega from one of the 20,000+ growers in the region, or via a cooperative. The wine is then bottled and labelled by that bodega. Rioja's Consejo Regulador keeps track of all vineyards and bodegas to make sure they are following the DOCa regulations. Put in place to ensure quality, the system also controls prices.
As with the rest of Spain, the wine label may state Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, depending on barrel & bottle maturation. Crianzas are usually found within two years of the vintage and offer fresh, ripe wines. Reserva and Gran Reserva will be found a few years after the vintage, as the bodega will be aging the wines in barrel and bottle before release. Both typically show more secondary characteristics of spice and oak ageing.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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