Since ancient times, wine has inspired artists and poets. From Caravaggio to Michelangelo, Monet, and Picasso, you will find plenty of stunning masterpieces playing with the pleasures of drinking wine.
The first evidence of wine in art goes back to ancient Egypt, where scenes of vine growing, grape harvest and winemaking were depicted on the walls of many tombs.
The more recent brush of wine and art is focused on winery architecture and artful bottle labels. With many of the latter turning out pieces of art in their own right. Which is not surprising if you look at some of the artists behind those labels.
Though the most important aspect is the quality in the bottle, I can’t deny an artful label can strongly attract me to buy a certain bottle. Promotion effect accomplished.
The latest bottles I picked mainly on the basis of design were from Bodegas Faustino in the prestigious Rioja winegrowing region in Spain. It certainly helped the winery is regarded as one of the best in the area.
Introduction to Rioja wine region
There is little argument Rioja is one of Spain’s leading wine regions. Located in Spain’s Basque Country, it is one of only two regions classified under the Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) system. Furthermore, Rioja was indeed the first Spanish wine region being awarded the DO status back in 1933.
The area, framed by the rolling lines of the Cantabrian mountains is home to several small historic hilltop towns and rows and rows of vines belonging to the almost 700 local wineries. They are distinguished by their excellent wines, which are dominated by red varietals Tempranillo and Garnacha.
Other then excellent wines, the Rioja region is also well known for its stunning futuristic winery architecture. And of course the delicious local cuisine that you can enjoy in many of the small restaurants scattered across the area.
If you want to learn more about Rioja and the wineries worth visiting in the area, check out my post Visit these spectacular wineries in Rioja.
Background: Bodegas Faustino
Looking back of 160 years of wine making history, Bodegas Faustino is now led by the fourth generation of the founding Martinez family.
Today, the winery is the largest vineyard owner in the Rioja region, with the winery being located in Oyón within the Rioja Alavesa wine growing region of Spain. Spanning 650 hectares, vineyards are distributed in the areas of the DOCa Rioja, in the municipalities of Laguardia and Oyon in Rioja Alavesa as well as Mendavia and Alfaro in Rioja Baja.
Starting to export wines outside of Spain in the 1960s, Faustino is currently selling to more than 70 countries worldwide and its Faustino I flagship wine is said to be the most sold DOCa Rioja Gran Reserva in the world.
Bodegas Faustino in the past few years have introduced new, environmentally friendly vineyard practices, becoming more and more sustainable. This includes precision viticulture to monitor canopy development in different areas within the same plot.
The winery stands for a long commitment to produce wines that embody the typical local style. Their broad wine range includes wine from entry-level to top rating bottles.
Bodegas Faustino Art Collection
Though Bodegas Faustino wines are distinguished by their traditional, Burgundy-shaped frosted-glass bottles featuring the winery’s historic label that embodies a 1641 portrait of Dutch merchant Nicolaes Van Bambeeck by world-renowned Dutch painter Rembrandt.
Contemporary artists were offered the challenge to reinterpret the baroque portrait and the Faustino Art Collection was launched in 2018 with Spanish artist Willy Ramos, who was born in Colombia and emigrated to Valencia at the age of 14 finally creating the new label.
With bright colours and a distinguished modern twist of the original portrait, the new label immediately catches the attention.
The collection has expanded to comprise 8 different wines, including two different Tempranillo, a Crianza, two different Chardonnay, a blend of Viura and Chardonnay along with a rosé and Cava brut reserve.
With warmer days making their appearance around here, I’ve opted to try the rosé and Cava as they promised to work well with lighter Spring dishes and appetizers.
Tasting Notes: Faustino Art Collection Rosé
Made from the local rosé Garnacha, this is a perfect light summer wine.
In the glass, a clean, bright pale pink salmon.
On the nose, intense fruit aromas with hints of pleasant floral notes.
On the palate, delicate with aromas of currants and lilacs. At the end, notes of tropical fruit. Pleasant acidity and a long freshness in the mouth. Medium-long finish.
The wine pairs well with appetizers, rice dishes and pasta dishes with light sauce.
Tasting Notes: Faustino Art Collection Cava brut reserve
If like me, you love bubbles, this cava needs to be on your list of wines to try.
In the glass, a bright straw-coloured yellow with golden flashed, a soft perlage and nice rim.
On the nose, hints of white fruits, apple, and honey.
On the palate, fresh with balanced acidity with a pleasant carbonic integration. A long fruit-forward finish.
Faustino Art Collection Cava brut pairs well with a large range of food such as cold meats, baked potatoes and mushrooms, salted fish and seafood and strong flavoured cheese. In addition, it works very well with appetizers and pizza.
The two varieties of the Faustino Art Collection range did certainly hold true to the promise of the winery’s reputation. Both are easy-drinking wines that can be enjoyed simply by themselves as an aperitif or paired to a large range of lighter foods.