Bodegas Faustino Winery: A Fabled Heritage of Wine and Progression

Adventure and ambition are qualities that often go hand-in-hand in putting up empires. For Steve Jobs, dropping out of college eventually led him to putting up a pioneering tech company called Apple. Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, took time in developing fun programming exploits that led him to creating Facebook. Spanish businessman Eleurio Martinez Arzok was no different. What started as a laborious act of selling wine via a horse-drawn carriage eventually became one of the most respected and profitable wine estates in the modern world.

The Bodegas Faustino Winery, located in Rioja, Spain, is well known for producing some of the finest Reserva and Gran Reserva wines in the world, becoming one of the foremost names in Italian winemaking. Don Eleurio and his descendants dedicated their lives to perfecting the cultivation of varietals and enmeshing architectural flair in their vineyards. Bodegas Faustino stands as a grand example.

History: Four Generations of Progressive Success

As a young man in the mid-1800s, Eleurio Arzok, later known as Don Eleurio, dreamt of putting up his own winery. He wasn’t one to ponder on his options until the “right time” comes along. Thinking of the dream as an adventure, he went on to become a wine merchant, peddling his tipple straight from wine barrels. He traversed various areas in Rioja and Basque as he rode his carriage. Business was pretty good. He was able to sell to bodegas in the region, which became loyal customers. Arzok’s wine was chiefly used as a component of vintages.

In 1930, Don Eleurio’s son, Faustino Martinez Perez de Albeniz, took over the reins of the business. Seeing the fruits of his father’s labor, he improved the processes from which wine was developed. He decided to bottle the liquid and expand the business by distributing his products throughout Spain.

In 1957, Julio Faustino Martinez, Don Eleurio’s grandson, inherited the business and expanded it even further. He shifted the company’s focus from quantity to quality, and decided to apply sound techniques in viticulture. This proved to be a profitable decision, with the produced wine eventually garnering world-class quality and started gaining attention from casual wine drinkers.

This brush with success would lead to mastery, and mastery in winemaking led to the winery’s vintages being exported to 44 countries. Everything was falling into place for the soon-to-be wine empire. Martinez’s son, who is an economics graduate, and his computer expert sister entered the fray and added their skills to the already successful business.

Before long, they have amassed more than enough land to erect vineyards for a series of varietals, composed mostly of Tempranillo, Graciano, Viura, and Cava. The progressive development in viticulture and winemaking would earn Bodega Faustino the reputation of being the biggest exporter of Gran Reserva and Reserva wines in all of Rioja. Its vintages drew raves from wine critics and publications worldwide, stamping its image as a global powerhouse in the wine trade.

Now Bodega Faustino directly sells wine to 47 countries, owns a 650-hectare vineyard, and has a perpetual stock of 9-million wine bottles. It has shown no signs of slowing down. As it turned out, Don Eleurio’s wine dreams were gigantic ships, big enough to transport the destinies of his descendants to a verdant realm where fame, luxury, and stability are the constants.  

Art and Architecture: A Brush of Old Italian and Contemporary

A lot of wineries from Rioja are known for mixing together art, architecture and winemaking, and Bodega Faustino happens to be one of the estates at the forefront of this movement. The wine estate is considerably a modern marvel, with Old Italian architecture fused with bold contours and shapes of contemporary design.

The entrance has a majestic arch, leading to an expansive garden that is characterized by picturesque pavements and strategically shaped landscaping. Some of the structures look like stylized museums, with the barrel storage building appearing like an 18th century fort on the outside and a modern home inside. The wine cellar is styled like an ancient library. The barrels and wine bottles are stacked like shelves and arranged in an elegant manner.

As for the wine label, each vintage bears a Rembrandt-like painting, which gives off an aura of prestige in a manner fitting the magnificent wine estate. Faustino Martinez’s penchant for art influenced the appearance of the label and the bottle’s special kinks.

Sampling Bodega Faustino Wine

Bodega Faustino took the wine world by storm when it released its Reserva and Gran Reserva vintages. Blending Rioja’s chief varietals in the Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo, among others, proved to be the estate’s key to success. Their wines, in general, are bold, robust, and smooth – highlighting the idyllic growing conditions in Rioja.

The 1964 Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva Tempranillo bears an aroma that blends rose petals and dry cherry. Its robustness can be likened to a top class Bordeaux, accentuated on the palate by the subtle sweetness of cinnamon and the meager pinch of cumin. The finish is smooth, as it carries hints of white pepper and anise. Wine Enthusiast gave it a fitting score of 94 while CellarTracker awarded it with a 92, outdoing a lot of other Rioja-based vintages.

Not far behind from its 1964 variant is the 1994 Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva Tempranillo. The vintage is characterized by a fruity and woody aroma of dark cherry and oak. It, then, greets the mouth with an earthy, leathery accent coupled with balanced astringency and full tannins. The 1994 Faustino received a 92 from Wine Enthusiast and a 90 from Wine & Spirits magazine.

The Bodega Faustino estate depicts how a storied wine lineage can improve a delicate commodity like a Tempranillo over time until near perfection is achieved. Generation after generation, the wine was continually refined, eventually reaching standards that other vineyards can only dream to attain. Singapore Wine Vault is more than glad to take in that heritage in its drome cellars.