“Tradition is not inherited, it is conquered,” remark the marketing folks from Bodegas Faustino, and it’s one of the better taglines I’ve run across lately. It sounds like something Nick Saban would yell at his team before a big game. While not looking to conquer anything when opening this Crianza Rioja (red wine aged for 1 year in an oak barrel and 1 year in bottle before release), I experienced an unanticipated, arduous battle with the cork but am pleased to report that I reigned victorious. Time to celebrate the little wins and give this newly cork conquered Rioja a try.
Incredibly bold on initial approach, with oak overpowering at first. Giving it a few minutes of rest (15-20) mellows and makes it much more accessible, with black cherry and vanilla giving a nice balance to the oak. The palate is built on a bold trio of plum, baking spices, and currant which shifts to a dry, medium-length finish of raspberry and baking chocolate. Oak and cork issues aside at the beginning, Bodegas Faustino has produced a charming bottle which is a reasonably good buy.
B+ / $15 / bodegasfaustino.com