Robert ParkerOne of the most recognizable bottles of Rioja is the 2004 Faustino I Gran Reserva, mostly Tempranillo with 9% Graciano 9% and 5% Mazuelo (Carinena), aged for 26 months in oak barrels. The nose is as classical as it gets, with tertiary aromas of bonfire, paprika, cured meat, leather and spices, highly recognizable as Rioja, clean and balanced, a big improvement over the 2001 I tasted last time. The palate is medium-bodied and polished with a fine texture, good acidity and persistence. This is subtle, with well-integrated oak. It is a textbook Rioja Gran Reserva. Half a million bottles of this wine are produced, and I’m sure there is more than one lot, but it’s remarkable that they can make that quantity of a Gran Reserva.
Wine EnthusiastReedy red-fruit aromas feature a note of green. This is tannic in feel, with a mix of red-leaning raspberry, currant and strawberry flavors. Tea, herb and other grassy notes make for a dry finish. Overall this is excellent, although it does have an herbal character. Drink through 2028.