TN 2010 Faustino I Gran Reserva- Ultimate Cellar Defender?

Purchased at a big box wine store several wks before drinking. Enjoyed over a few days out of a variety of glasses at cellar temp.

Color is dark ruby, clear, watery rim. Looks very youthful. Smells of lots of cherries- red and dark, fresh and persevered, even a touch of cherry liqueur. Some damp soil as well, along with a what I assume is American oak- vanilla and coconut. Rather than being intrusive, as not fully integrated oak oftentimes is for me, it is both distinct and plays well in support of the fruit.

Round in the mouth, body is medium plus, acidity is medium. Cherries (again) and raspberries, vanilla, sandy tannins that could use a bit more softening. Finish emphasizes some medicinal qualities that reminds me a little of cough syrup. The medicinal note isn’t unwelcome, but the wine definitely does better with some food.

Overall, very enjoyable, pleasant, reasonably complex. Though still quite young, the 12 years of age have given the wine an appreciable amount of depth. It is fruit forward, but not entirely primary. Definitely could go another 10 years and be all the better for it. Though not mind blowing- at $30 a bottle, aged for 10 years at the domaine, from a (large but) respectable producer: to me, this is the quintessential Cellar Defender!


I think it’s fine, but rioja had lots of value wines such as LDH tondonia, bosconia, and cubillo as well as a variety of wines from LRA, marques de Murietta, and other producers.

Is that the one in the frosted bottle?

I too find it hard to deviate from the LRA, Heredia, CVNE triumvirate with pricing being so sharp among them.

But then again, I did try the La Antigua Classic because of a Gilman review and was pleasantly surprised.

The 06 was drinkable but that is being nice.

My exact thought, with Muga in there as well.

NoahC - thanks for the early look on this. I picked up one a month or two ago (the 2010 GRs were just released here) and have been mulling over tasting it to determine if more was needed. I have liked their single vineyard, first use oak barrel Campillo estate a bit in some vintages.

These are happy times for enthusiasts of this region: well distributed wines, cooperative weather, some attention from media, and a spectrum of styles without the monoculture that occurs when there is single dominant critic and weltanschaung.

I would have said the same thing for the 08. I just found the oak overpowering and the acidity too low.

Neither of those were strong vintages by reputation. I think the old school bodegas are more linked to the weather than modern interventionist houses. I feel like La Rioja is one of those (unusual) regions where, although there are weather variations, which feed into wine quality, it does not get baked into the price as much as it should. So I’d rather gorge on the good years, and ignore what’s in between.

01 was superb QPR. Still have a few kicking around downstairs. Your TN reminds of that wine soon after release. Hope your bottles develop as nice as the 01. Thanks for the note

Faustino is not a first-rank producer. That said, they often make good, and even very good wines. The saying is that if Faustino makes a good wine, you know it’s a good vintage. And I’ve had some that were really good, always from good vintages. Vintages like 2006 and 2008 are not vintages that I would look for, nor 1993, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2017. A 2010, on the other hand, isn’t something I’d turn down. The 2001, as mentioned, was quite nice. There are three or four Rioja names that people on this board talk about, but there are a lot more producers that are worth looking at. And compare what you might get for the price from many CA producers.

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I felt the same way about the 09 as well. The vanilla note from the oak really stuck out to me.

I had a 2005 less than a month ago that was in a really nice place. Bright and fresh with probably another decade ahead of it.

It’s lovely to have a mass market wine that’s released with good maturity already (but typically needs no rush to drink), and at a very reasonable price.

Is it a great Rioja? Hell no, but it’s often a fine bargain, and also offers something that isn’t typically widely available. That’s something I positively applaud.


This is actually one of the reasons I posted this note. Most of the Rioja talk on this board focuses on a small handful of producers. I like LdH, CVNE, LRA etc as much as the next guy, but thought a note on a different, but still widely available producer, might be nice.

Interesting to know. This 2010 is the only one I’ve had, and I really like it. I’ll keep an eye out for other bottles form strong vintages.

My thoughts exactly. This is no LdH Gran Reserva, but it’s $30, well made, and released with over a decade of age. Not many wines out there like that.

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Wine Access is offering the 2010 Faustino I for $24/per, by the case. That’s attractive especially if one can stack coupons/referrals/promotions/credits etc.

The only reason I remember this wine at all was because I had a glass of it at a recruitment dinner at capital grille and they coravined it. I think it’s a perfectly good wine, but am not sure why it’d be a cellar defender when LRA vina Alberdi and LDH cubillo are both cheaper and better.

Agreed. I generally prefer other riojas as mentioned, but you can buy this stuff at supermarkets and even gas stations which is nice.

I always wonder about the suggestion that a cellar needs “defending.” Besides the fact that it conjures knights, moats, and cannons, really good wines can be found at almost every price point; certainly the $20-25 range. Chidaine Les Choiselle or Arterberry Maresh’s regular bottling come immediately to mind.

Well, there is that. And another one not to overlook is Marques de Riscal. It’s nice to put out a small production wine that will age and improve for years. It’s almost unheard of to put out an immense production wine that will age and improve for years. Their Reserva is available all over and twenty years from the day you bought it, is likely to be remarkable. I’ve had them going back to the 1920s and 1940s, and they’re just amazing. If I’m in a café or restaurant and I don’t recognize anything, but they have that, it’s a safe bet.

With Rioja, just like Bordeaux, or really any region, particularly the larger ones, there is a lot of wine produced that isn’t particularly memorable or even good. But Rioja has a few producers that regularly put out very serviceable wine. Not something to drive hundreds of miles to seek out, but what wine should generally be - a drink to accompany your supper. Central Italy has a few of those too - Abruzzo on one side, Tuscany on the other, both putting out plenty of wine that’s perfectly acceptable, if not stunning.

Didn’t this wine make top 10 one vintage for one of the wine publications?