24 great-value Riojas between £8-£20
Faustino, Faustino I, Gran Reserva 2001
Decanter average score: 19.25pts/20 (97/100pts)
Individual judge’s scores: Pedro Ballesteros MW 20 Ben Henshaw 18.5
Annette Scarfe MW 19
Faustino (founded 1860) with its iconic frosted bottles and portrait labels is one of Rioja’s most easily recognised brands. It’s a family business based in Oyon in Rioja Alavesa, and the largest private holder of vineyards in Rioja, spread across the region. The style of the RIoja is as classic as the packaging: look for the sweet, vanilla notes of American oak, plenty of bright cherry fruit, and a fine, delicate palate. For those interested in tasting great old RIojas, Faustino is one company that still releases older vintages going as far back as 1970. Among the other wineries it owns is Portia in Ribera del Duero.
Pedro Ballesteros MW Deliciously decadent, with extraordinary vitality on the palate and a long, unique finish. A jewel at this price.
Ben Henshaw Complex nose, quite grippy but fresh and moreish. A touch dry, but amazing fruit. Classy, complex and long.
Annette Scarfe MW A more restrained, mineral style with elegant tannins. Youthful, feminine and complex with a long length. A classic Rioja that is
still fresh after 12 years, with more to come.
Price £16–£20 Asda, CellarVie, Constantine Stores, Drinkshop, Fenwicks, Fine & Rare, Nickolls & Perks, Page & Sons, Sainsbury’s, Temple Wines, Wine Rack