I had a bottle of Faustino VII white Rioja from ASDA. I’m a convert to white Rioja, I still recall the first time I tried it over a decade ago, I couldn’t quite work out what was going on with my taste buds, but they were clearly having a great time with nutty, bitter almond, caramelly goodness all happening at once.
This Faustino rioja was young, very young, just a year old, so my hopes for it weren’t super high. It was clear, bright and a pale lemon colour, it smelled of apples and pears fresh off the tree. It tasted dry, with just an itsy bitsy teeny weeny bit of oak, more woody than vanillin.
Those apples and pears carried through into the flavour, but that flavour was fresh, bright and momentary, it died pretty quickly. The wine wasn’t quite medium bodied, and was refreshing, easy drinking and perfectly good, just not what I’d hoped for when opening it.
I’m an old fashioned girl when it comes to Riojas, I like them to have sat around for a while in oak, steadily absorbing flavours, turning caramel, even getting a bit oxidised and slightly baked.
I can see why Faustino has opted to put out a bright fresh white Rioja that’s instantly drinkable, and doesn’t have people returning it to the supermarket because it’s gone a bit … well… Rioja-ish. In future I’ll stick to real wine merchants for white Rioja, and stick to varietals in the supermarkets.