Faustino, Edicion Special, DOCa Rioja, La Rioja, Spain, 2001
This wine: lot no. L73549, bottle no. 006789, 18 months ageing in French oak, then 20 months in bottle, before release, so this is a crianza, coated natural cork closure, 13.5% abv, private sale, £15 (11/17)
Consumer tasting note: a fully mature wine, with rich dried red berry aromas, edged with cumin, black liquorice and dark chocolate; medium bodied, with a palate of rich dried and stewed red fruits, currants and raisins, edged with spice and lifted by a touch of peony. Finishes long. Decant for 1-2 hours, but start tasting from 30 minutes in. Drink up now.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity garnet, showing tears [and a 1/4 teaspoon of soft sediment; the bottom 1-2mm of the cork were whole, but soft and rotted].
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of slightly high-toned dried fruits – cranberry and dark glace cherry, bees-wax, low-key spicy – coriander and cumin, hint of smoke, a floral touch of peony, black liquorice, touches of sweet oak and toast, dried currants edged with stewed red currant, sweet tobacco, hint of dark chocolate and a whiff of old leather.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, medium (+) intensity, a noticeable sense of sweetness in mid-palate, with flavours of dried cranberry and red cherry, dried currants and raisins, stewed red berries edged with sweet oak and a touch of spice. A long length with a clean waxy dried red berry finish, lifted by a floral whiff, with a slight drying tannic bitterness on the end.
Quality: very good, well-balanced acidity and ripe tannins with alcohol, harmonious overall; decent intensity throughout with a little less concentration, showing a moderate to high level of complexity, from time in well-integrated wood, with a residual toasty note, spice, smoke and chocolate, and in bottle, with dried and stewed fruits, bees-wax and tobacco. Finishes long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing, but will keep for a year or two – a sound structure, well-balanced, but development is complete as the sensory profile and hue suggest, and there is that slight drying bitterness at the end of the finish, which will not improve.