Bodegas Faustino, Faustino 1 Gran Reserva 2012

(2024) According to the Faustino web site this iconic wine represents three out of every 10 bottles of Rioja Gran Reserva sold in the world. It is certainly the most recognisable and, between that and its ubiquity, is so easy to overlook a wine like this in favour or newer or less familar names. Although there are notes on 300 Riojas in wine-pages database, this one has never featured. Aged a minimum of 24 months in French and American oak and 36 in bottle, there's surprisingly little of the coconut and vanilla character one might expect from a 14-year-old, traditional Rioja. Instead it is cedary and spicy, with red fruits that are plummy and savoury. In the mouth it again doesn't have the sumptuous softness that I think I recall from previous tastings. A little mocha coffee does underpin, but the firm acids and grippy tannins dominate though balanced by some solid, plummy fruit. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Costco is the place to buy at £15.49, though widely available including Asda and Tesco at £18-£19.

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