I was amazed to find Faustino V Reserva on offer in Tesco at €10 – a saving of €6.99. I was a bit suspicious at first that it was a secondary label, as the label appears to be different. However, I checked with the importer and am assured that the label has recently changed from a rather old-fashioned yellow colour to a new cream background.
Faustino is Ireland’s best-selling Rioja, and while people rave about Faustino I Gran Reserva, Faustino VII Crianza is a much better seller as it’s much more affordable. However, the insider wine tip is that Faustino V Reserva is by far the best value for money in the range.
A frequently asked question at wine courses and wine tastings is what terms like Reserva and Crianza mean on bottles of Spanish wine. Faustino V is a Reserva, which means that the grapes used are better quality than Faustino VII (a Crianza), and the wine is aged for longer, in this case 16 months in American oak, and then further bottle ageing. The classic Rioja grape mix (mostly Tempranillo, with some Mazuelo) combined with sweet Missouri oak give super-ripe vanilla aromas and flavours, delicious ripe berry flavours, some spice, and quite firm tannins. I tasted this last night, and it’s super. The overall impression is one of ripeness, but with power and tannin which will soften out and create more layered flavours with time.
On that note, this a great wine deal when you consider that this is the 2005 vintage, which was extremely good, and costs no more (in this case less!). Buy several bottles now (5% discount on 6 bottles in Tesco) and put it away for another 5-7 years for a real treat.