Fabulous Faustino

Faustino2001Probably the most recognisable labels in the  wine world with its portraits of Rembrandt, El Greco and composer Gluck  and the use of Roman numerals are on the Faustino range.

My earliest memories of this wine is seeing these bottles lined up on the shelves and noticing how they stood out with their frosted bottles and gold wire meshing. They actually still look good amongst the rows of fairly nondescript labels on the shelves now and more importantly the stuff inside the bottles is generally very good.

This 2001 Gran Reserva is normally pretty pricey ranging from around £12 – £15 even as much as £19 in some shops but I picked up a few of these on a recent trip to Calais France where you could find it for between £8-£9, now that is a bargain for a quality wine from a great Spanish vintage. This particular bottle was voted best wine of the year 2013 by the Decanter experts and probably has something to do with the price it’s at now.

Is it worth the hefty price tag, for me, a resounding yes. Being a big fan of Rioja this is exactly what I’d be looking for, for a start it just looks traditionally spanish, conjures up images of sitting outside a sleepy bar, flamenco music playing in the background with a table full of tasty Tapas.

In the glass the colour reflects its age, a deep garnet with rusty-brown tinge around the edge. Full on aromas of dried cherries, plums, blackberries, cloves, tobacco, candle wax and Vanilla.

Straight from the bottle it tastes good, left to the air for a while to soften slightly it is even better. Elegant and silky smooth still retaining a freshness of fruit considering its age, with ripe rich blackberries and dark cherries. There is some spice, oak and tannins which are all beautifully balanced, vanilla is prominent giving it a slight sweetness and the finish is long and satisfying.

This is a taste of Spain in a bottle, fabulous Rioja from a well-respected producer.

 

8.5corksMy rating 8.5/10 Corks

Various between £12-£19

 

Decanter Spain & Portugal Fine Wine Encounter 2014

Decantertitle2014The prestigious Landmark Hotel in London was the venue for this year’s ‘Decanter Spain  & Portugal Fine Wine Encounter 2014’. The hotel and Decanter did a brilliant job as hosts and provided my wife and I with a great afternoon tasting some wonderful wines.

The event started at 11.00am which was a little early for us as we intended stopping for a hearty lunch on route, we finally got there around 12.50pm. After checking in and receiving our Decanter wrist bands we made our way to the main tasting rooms. The event was split into two rooms, one hosting Spanish wines the other Portuguese wines. With my love of Spanish wines in particular we naturally headed to the Spanish stands and had a quick wander around  to get our bearings.

This had to be a quick look as we had a ‘Torres Masterclass’  booked for  1.30pm but couldn’t resist stopping off at the Muga stand and trying the Prado Enea Gran Reserva 2005 and the Barrel Fermented White 2013, both very nice and a great start.

At around 1.2decanter2014masterclass(600 x 450)0pm we queued up for the ‘Torres Master Class’ hosted by fifth generation winemaker Mireia Torres. In the room tables were set with hundreds of glasses filled standing on pristine white table cloths, the reds were all primed and ready but the whites (chardonnay) were still to be poured.
We took our seats and disaster struck, I decided to pour some water out before the tasting started and unfortunately the water bottle was at the far part of the cluttered table and as i reached over my sleeve caught the nearest glass (Torres Mas la Plana 1996) and you guessed it, sent red wine flying everywhere, luckily nothing smashed and only that glass lost its contents but it did leave a sodden and very red table cloth. Thank goodness the talk hadn’t started yet. Luckily again, the guys serving quickly cleared up and with the whites poured we were ready to go.Masterclass(600 x 450)

Mireia  gave a fairly detailed  talk on the history of Torres which included tasting  single vineyard wines. Of the 12 wines we tasted they were all pretty decent, starting with the excellent   Milmanda Chardonnay 2008, deep gold coloured rich, honeyed and bursting with ripe tropical fruit, ending the first set of six wines  with The Mas la Planas 1983, 1996 & 2009 which were also extremely good.
Of the second set of wines, I really enjoyed tasting the first two Jean Leon’s  100% Cabernet Sauvignons  the 1982 Gran Reserva and the 1998 Gran Reserva both intense and complex.
Ending  with the Grans Muralles, again all fantastic including the 2001, 2007 & 2009 and featuring the lesser known and disappearing varieties Garro & Samso.

Mestizaje(450 x 600)Back in the ‘Spanish tasting Room ‘ I was like a kid in a sweet shop, not knowing which way to turn, lots of brilliant wines tasted, too many to list all my favourites but just to highlight a few, the best reasonably priced red I found was from Bodega Mustiguillo, Pago El Terrerazo from Valencia, The Mestizaje 2011 a fantastic blend of Bobal, Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon Garnacha & Shiraz Around £11 in Uk about 9 Euros in Spain.

Best white was from the same Bodega the Finca Calvestra 2012 made with 100% Merseguera (one of the nicest whites i’ve tasted for a while) this was a little more expensive at around £24 but a price I would be Fincacalvestra (450 x 600)more than happy to pay. I must say the guys at this stand were particularly helpful and Knowledgeable.

As I say lots of brilliant wines tasted too many to mention and I didn’t get to taste any Portuguese wines, what with the Masterclass finishing at just after 3.00pm and the event closing at 5.00pm just didn’t have the time.

To see more pictures and a brief Decanter Video click on link……….

 

http://www.decanter.com/wine-events/video/584858/video-decanter-spain-portugal-fine-wine-encounter-2014