About Faustino Wine
The Faustino bottle, with its dark, frosted glass, and old fashioned, highly traditional label, is one of the most instantly recognised Spanish wines in the UK. It is also one of the top 3 Spanish brands in the UK.
Whilst not in the top 50 unique brands in the UK, Faustino has stayed the test of time, and is still hugely popular, with a very loyal following. In a market almost completely dominated by New World brands, Spanish brands have struggled, with only Campo Viejo and Torres making it into the ‘top 50 wine brands in the UK’ list, but in terms of recognition, and loyalty, off a smaller base, Faustino is up there also, with its traditional and now also modern styles of Rioja, which appeal so much to the British wine drinkers.
After a few years in the doldrums, when quality dipped, and the world seemed to forget it, in favour of the New World, sales of Spanish wines are now riding high again, showing the strongest growth of any category in the last year, and taking 7th place on the ratings table, after South Africa. Spanish wines are gaining increasing recognition, for their style, appeal, reliability, and also because of the fact that they offer great value, across the range of styles. Spain is certainly the country that is keeping the UK wine market showing some growth in the last year.
What’s The Background To Faustino?
Bodegas Faustino was founded in 1861, when Eleuterio Martinez Arzok decided to follow his dreams, and bought a palace and vineyards in the region of Rioja, where he first established a wine company. At that time the wines were produced in bulk and sold locally.
In 1930, Faustino Martinez Perez de Alberiz took over the business, and started to transform it into a company that bottled its own wines, and took pride in its heritage. He named the wines after various of the vineyards.
Still in family ownership, as it remains today, in 1957 Juan Faustino-Martinez came to the helm, and began to build the business into the international wine brand that it is today, with the name Faustino clearly on the label of every bottle sold.
Rioja is steeped in centuries of tradition, from the grape varieties it is produced from, to the tightly controlled regions and indeed methods of production and ageing, and Faustino is part of that tradition. Respecting the rules, yet bringing modern thinking to the process, Faustino built an impressive new winery at the Faustino headquarters in 1968, to be followed in 1970, by an even more modern (for those days) winery at Bodegas Campillo (one the Faustino owned vineyards); further wineries were subsequently built and added to the portfolio as the business and the brand expanded.
Today Faustino own over 6 wineries, not just in Rioja, but also stretching out into other regions, including La Mancha. The heart of the company is at Bodegas Faustino, not far from Logrono, in the heart of Rioja, where it sits on 1600 acres of vineyards and is home to over 50,000 barrels and over 9 million bottles of stock.
What Styles Of Wine Does Faustino Make?
The Faustino tradition is based on Rioja, and the various levels and categories within this spectrum are clearly defined. All the wines are called Faustino – the classification is then easy – Faustino I for the very top end, Faustino V for the classic, middle range, and Faustino VII for the younger, easier drinking styles.
As well as the Rioja classics Faustino now also produces some more modern styles of wine, and wines from different regions.
Faustino VII – a soft, approachable Rioja, made in the traditional manner, but embracing new techniques. Aged in oak for 10 months, it’s full of ripe strawberry and vanilla character, and is a great introduction to the Faustino style.
Faustino V Reserva – an older wine, benefitting from 16 months in oak barrels, and 2 years bottle ageing; elegant, silky, and ripe, full flavoured and lingering.
Faustino I Gran Reserva – the flagship of the range, and a very mature, traditional style, with rich, complex and lingering character.
Faustino Blanco VII – a fresh, zesty, young white, from the Viura, produced in stainless steel to maintain, its vibrant, citrussy edge.
Faustino Blanco V – another modern, stainless steel fermented white, with a gentle baked apple and citrus character – a great food wine.
Faustino V Rioja Blanco (barrel fermented) – a white Rioja, made entirely from the Viura grape – barrel fermented, it has a rich, bone dry, yet intense character, with a lemon and coconut edge, and a rich, creamy style.
Faustino Rosado – there are 2 blends here, the lighter, fresher Faustino Rosado VII, and the fuller, ripely flavoured Faustino Rosado V. These wines are made from the Tempranillo grape, with a little Garnacha in the Faustino VII.
Faustino Cava – Faustino also produce a range of Cavas, from their vineyards and winery in Catalonia. The range includes a brut, an extra dry, a demi-sec and also a Rose.
Matching Faustino with Food
Spanish wines have always been designed to go with food, and Faustino, with all its traditions and heritage, stay true to this.
Faustino Rioja - all the reds in the range are great food wines, but balance the intensity of the wine, with the intensity of the food. So Faustino VII, with its simple, fruity style, would be great with good, meaty burgers, meatballs, chorizo spiced rice dishes, and cheesy pasta.
The Faustino V Reserva makes for an elegant match with roast lamb, lamb chops, game, and seared steak, whilst the Gran Reserva Faustino I demands more illustrious fare, such as braised beef, slow roasted lamb with garlic and rosemary, mature cheeses, and rich game stews.
Faustino Blanco range – the fresh, crisp whites are perfect with grilled fish, pan-fried salmon, seared prawns, squid, and richly flavoured fish stew. Also great with little chicken kebabs with a red pepper sauce.
The barrel fermented Faustino V, would be perfect with salmon steaks, chicken in creamy sauce, and richer fish and poultry dishes.
Faustino Rosado – a great food wine, serve chilled with all manner of spicy tapas, chorizo, prawns, squid, tortilla and also non – Spanish food, such as seared tuna, and chilli spiced white meat dishes.
Faustino Cava range - great value party wines, perfect on their own, or with canapés, smoked salmon blinis, and bruschetta with tomato and basil.