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Time Tested Tempranillo

“If you don’t know me by now, you will never ever ever know me…” Damn, that Teddy Pendergrass he just knows how to hit you deep in your soul. But those words couldn’t be more true. If you didn’t know, I love Spanish wines. I not only love the labor of love that is evident in the final product, but the value of what’s inside that bottle. Where else can you find back vintage wine like this at this kind of cost? My other true love, Brunello di Montalcino offers plenty of age and back vintages typically on their wines as well, but for double or triple the cost of these sensational Spanish offerings.

Bodegas Faustino has more than 150 years of history and it shows in their juice. Widely known as one of the “First Families of Rioja”, Faustino was founded in 1861 by the Martinez family and is still managed by the 6th generation Martinez daughters. I know Ro holds some bottles in his library, but the Martinez family puts Ro to shame. In their caves and winery, Faustino currently has one of the worlds largest barrel rooms with 47,000 barrels and 10 MILLION bottles aging! Now that’s what I call inventory.

Winners of multiple honors and awards, including Decanter’s Wine of the Year for their 2001 vintage, they received an impressive 95pts for their 2006 vintage from the same publication. The Faustino Gran Reserva 2006 is extremely well integrated at this point. They wanted to release this wine at it’s peak and allow everyone to see what beautifully aged Tempranillo can taste like. In a world where you consistently hear “time is money!” Faustino laughs in their faces and continues to age their wine until just right. This amount of effort and finesse results in a medium maroon color with a deeper core. Ripe fruits blended with what seems to be the smell of jam cooking on the stove and a touch of cedar and spices. It’s as if someone dropped a cinnamon stick in Cassis based Hot Toddy. And that’s just the nose! Tasting this wine, you notice right away how long the flavors last on your tongue, well after your first sip. The tannins are well integrated and have rounded out beautifully. The flavors play tricks with your brain because although it tastes like cooked fruit would in jam, it also tastes fresh and lively. How can this be so???

With Fall right around the corner and Pumpkin Spiced everything coming your way, it’d be a shame if you didn’t give a little Rioja spice a try because to me, this is Fall wine. This is the wine that you buy now, drink a bottle, then call RoCo up and demand he hold a case for you because you just found your new Turkey Day wine! There isn’t much of this wine left for us to get so I wanted to make sure everyone had the chance before it’s gone for good, and just like the Turkey, we’d all be clucked.

Nick Mallon, Certified Sommelier