Grupo Faustino celebrates over 150 years of history with a historic pairingThursday, October 6th 2016
On 4 October, a unique experience was provided at the Fundación Carlos de Amberes in Madrid, the ´Historic Pairing´. It was the way Grupo Faustino wanted to celebrate its 150 years of history, offering a tour of the five most important milestones that have marked the firm’s extensive history.
Eneko Atxa, owner and chef of the Azurmendi restaurant, has been responsible for interpreting these five milestones in five dishes, accompanied by five of the wine group´s most representative wines, by the winemaker Ismael Echezarreta.
Eneko Atxa says he found the inspiration to create his dishes in roots, tradition, land, respect for ancestors, popular knowledge, meticulous study, the future, the eyes of those who want to learn in order to rebuild on the old, beloved foundation, born as grapes are born from the vines... To move from the soul!
And it is through this historic joining of food and wine that attendees had the opportunity to learn about the past, present and future of one of the emblematic winemaking groups of La Rioja, narrated by actress Isabel Prinz.
The event began with a welcome speech by Lourdes Martínez Zabala, CEO, Grupo Faustino, who summarized what the wine group has meant and means for her and her family.
The ´Historic Pairing´ was then launched with a tour of the five milestones that have marked the evolution of Grupo Faustino from its origins to the present day.
First milestone: More than 150 years ago
In 1861, Eleuterio Martinez Arzok acquired the palace and vineyards of the Marquis del Puerto and soon began to make wine. He was a man of his times, an entrepreneurial spirit who had the fortune of being able to lay the foundations for a family adventure that followed the same path of effort, progress and future vision.
In the midst of his fledgling project, he had to withstand the collapse brought about by the phylloxera. The pest arrived from France to kill off the vines and dreams of thousands of growers. But they were not deterred. They replanted, rebuilt, waited patiently and went back to work.
- Dish: Eggs from our chickens, reverse cooked and truffled
- Wine: Campillo Blanco Fermentado en Barrica 2015
Second milestone: Arrival of the second generation: Vinos Faustino Martínez
A new generation comes in and, with Faustino Martínez Pérez de Albéniz, the landscape and continuity were guaranteed. From a young age, he was involved in the work of the vineyard and the winery and, in 1920 when his father died, he took over the reins of the company.
In 1930 he made what would be one of the crucial decisions that have advanced to the company: he gave up bulk wine sales and decided to bottle all his production. Selling bottles means creating and selling brands and that is how the first house brands were born: Viña Parrita, Santana, Famar and Campillo were named after one of the best family estates in the municipality of Laguardia.
- Dish: Shelled roasted lobster with honeyed chives
- Wine: Campillo Reserva Selecta 2010
Third milestone: We come out into the world: Faustino I
The birth of the third generation embodied in the person of Julio Faustino Martínez Martínez. Instinct and passion for things well made led him to resolutely enter the international wine market. In 1960 the winery started on a road that it would never abandon: exports. This coincided with the Faustino brand, which soon become the house’s flagship. Gradually, the winery grew. All proceeds were used to make it grow and improve.
- Dish: Fried suckling pig, slightly spicy
- Wine: Faustino I Gran Reserva 2004
Fourth milestone: Very real dreams
In 1968, the first Faustino I was put on the market, a Reserva wine from the 1964 vintage. Ten years later, the winery acquired the 150+ hectare Malpica estate between Oyón and Laguardia. In the following years, Julio Martínez began to plan one of the largest and most personal projects of his career: to build a new winery in Rioja Alavesa in the style of the Bordeaux châteaux. In parallel, he adopted a dynamic institutional profile and promoted the Rioja agreement for the abolition of bulk wine exports. In 1990, Bodegas Campillo was inaugurated in Laguardia, an architectural and winemaking landmark surrounded by 50 hectares of the best grapevines.
- Dish: Fried hake with charbroiled red pepper and parsley tea
- Wine: Marqués de Vitoria Reserva 2011
Fifth milestone: Building the future
The last 25 years of Grupo Faustino have been marked by the arrival of other winemaking regions. Gradually Marqués de Vitoria in La Rioja; Condesa de Leganza in La Mancha and Valcarlos in Navarra came on board. Moreover, a new project took shape in the Ribera del Duero and finally opened in 2010: Bodegas Portia. The building is spectacular, a display of contemporary architecture, functional and symbolic at the same time, signed by Sir Norman Foster and his prestigious studio, Foster and Partners. Portia reflects like no other winery the sign that distinguishes Faustino: the vibrant innovation that permeates all its activities.
With the fourth generation, the Martínez Zabalas, fully integrated in the management team. And next to all of them, the will to produce great wines that reflect the love of the land, tradition and dialogue with the world.
- Dish: Glazed pompfret in its own juice with a milk bun
- Wine: Portia Prima 2014
At dessert time and put the finishing touch to this ´historic pairing´ Eneko Atxa reserved a big surprise for the audience...
About Eneko Atxa
Eneko Atxa´s three Michelin star restaurant is located near Bilbao, He received the National Gastronomy Award in 2015. His facilities were recognised in 2014 as the Most Sustainable Restaurant in the World and that year he was also distinguished by the prestigious magazine Elite Traveler ´as the second best restaurant in the world. The publication also named Eneko Atxa as ´Young Chef of the Year´. An upward career path projected onto the world.
About Grupo Faustino
Grupo Faustino, a fourth generation family business, has become the undisputed leader in the production and export of high quality wines. More than half of its production is exported and it is the world´s leading exporter of DOCa Rioja Gran Reserva wines. Since it started business in 1861, Grupo Faustino has grown to include seven wineries, located in five key Spanish designations of origin. It owns close to 1600 hectares of vineyards.
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