Bodegas Faustino 2007 Rioja Faustino VII

Bodegas Faustino 2007 Rioja Tempranillo/Mazuelo
Having tried most of the major international grape varieties by now, I thought it was time to try something a little more localised. Since we were planning to go out to a Spanish restaurant for tapas tonight, I decided it would be a good opportunity to try a Spanish wine.

This wine from the Rioja region in northern Spain is made from 90% tempranillo and 10% mazuelo (also known as carignan) grapes, aged for 10 months in American oak. Tempranillo is the signature grape of Spain, so I wanted to find something using it in our local wine shop. They had a 100% tempranillo rosé, but M. expressed a desire for a straight red, so we opted for this blend.

Having recently read up a little on Rioja style wines and tempranillo grapes, I was expecting a juicy, fruity style of wine, fairly light, with notes of strawberries. But immediately upon sniffing my first glass, I knew this was something different. It was pungent with spicy aromas, reminiscent of my experiences so far with shiraz. Despite this, the first taste on the tongue was indeed light and fruity, and that hint of strawberry came through. It wasn’t juicy though, being noticeably dry on the palate – that dryness I think is associated with the wine term “tannin”, but which I’m not yet confident enough to sling around as though I really know what I’m talking about. I’m guessing this came from the oak.

And then after about 5 seconds in the mouth, the flavour exploded in a burst of spices. It was quite something. That aroma of shiraz came back in the flavours which included just a hint of black pepper and other spicy flavours I can’t yet quite assign more specific descriptions to. It felt controlled though – balanced and not overpowering like some of those full-bodied shirazes can feel to me. It was a bit of a shock, but not unpleasant. After a few sips, I really got into it and enjoyed this wine a lot. It complemented my dinner nicely (tapas of fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce and fried whitebait, followed by veal in a peppery mushroom sauce). We normally barely manage half a bottle over dinner, but we almost finished this one.

At home now and in range of my wine book and Wikipedia, I see that the 10% mazuelo may be responsible for the stronger, spicier flavours in this blend. I’ll have to try to find a 100% tempranillo red somewhere for comparison. A very interesting and eye opening excursion to Spain!

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2 Responses to “Bodegas Faustino 2007 Rioja Faustino VII”

  1. Román Gorojovsky Sánchez says:

    If you ever want to try argentine wines, let me know what you can get and maybe I can recomend you something out of that.

  2. That would be great, although I expect the variety available here will be very limited.

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