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¿Cuál es el mejor vino para principiantes?

Which wine is best for beginners?

By Sin categorizar

For those new to wine, the world of viticulture can initially seem more complicated than it actually is. Learning to appreciate wine shouldn’t be intimidating; in fact, it should be the opposite! That’s why we’d like to share our recommendations for the best wines for beginners.

Some of the most common questions that arise when venturing into the world of wine are “Which wine is best for beginners?” or “Should I go for a red or white wine?” The best way to discover what types of wines you prefer is simply by trying new wines and taking note of your experiences with each one. Initially, you may not appreciate dry wines, for example, but over time, your taste may evolve, and you may acquire a liking for them.

¿Cuál es el mejor vino para principiantes?

Which wine should you start with?

Now that you’ve decided to embark on this oenological adventure and explore the types of wines you enjoy, we can recommend some starting points. It’s best to begin with easy-to-drink wines that can be enjoyed on their own, without food.

There are five main wine classifications: rosé, white, red, sparkling and dessert wine. Each category includes a wide variety of wines, which can be overwhelming for beginners.

Generally, wines with fruity flavours rather than earthy notes are easier to enjoy because they are well-balanced. They have moderate acidity, mild tannins and a lighter body, making them more suitable for beginners. For instance, you can try a rosé like Coto Mayor Rosado, predominantly made from Grenache and Tempranillo grapes. It’s fresh, intense and indulgent, yet easy to drink and enjoy for those new to the world of wine.

White wines offer a range of options, from light-bodied to full-bodied, with a wide array of flavours and levels of sweetness. They typically have a lower alcohol content compared to red wines and a lighter, fresher taste.

¿Cuál es el mejor vino para principiantes?

For beginners, we recommend Coto Mayor Blanco, made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety, or El Coto Blanco, prepared with a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viura and Verdejo grapes. These wines are fresh with fruity and citrus aromas, and pair well with fish and rice dishes.

A medium-bodied red wine can be a good option for beginners. Apart from body, red wines have varying levels of acidity. They are generally dry, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fruity and pleasant to the palate.

Red wines suitable for beginners tend to have low tannin levels, easily identifiable fruity flavours and moderate acidity. One good example would be our 875 m red wine, made from the Tempranillo grape variety. It’s intense yet refreshing, with good acidity and aromas of cherry, red berries, mocha and cocoa.

¿Cuál es el mejor vino para principiantes?

5 tips for starting out with wines

1. Ask questions

 Whether you’re at a restaurant or a wine shop, don’t hesitate to ask the staff for guidance. Inquire about the wine’s origin, the grapes used and the vinification techniques employed. There are no foolish questions, and you might even learn about the winemaker or the winery’s history.

2. Try something new

If you come across an unfamiliar wine on a restaurant menu that catches your attention, go ahead and order it. However, before doing so, discuss your wine preferences with the waiter. They will provide recommendations and help you find a wine that suits your taste from the menu. Did you enjoy the wine? Pay attention to its flavours, aromas and the reasons why you liked it. And don’t forget the next step…

3. Take notes

This is an important step that should not be overlooked. When you’re starting out in the world of wine, it can be challenging to remember which wines you’ve tried and where. “What was the name of that white wine I had at that restaurant a few weeks ago…?”

Mobile phones make things easier than ever. Create a new page in your Notes app to jot down your opinions and take photos of the wine bottles you’ve enjoyed, as well as those you didn’t like as much.

Cuánto dura el vino sin abrir

4. Attend wine tastings

 While the ultimate experience is to travel to wine regions, visit vineyards and enjoy guided tours, you can also indulge in the pleasure of wine through tastings.

There are likely regular wine tastings held in your city or nearby. Don’t hesitate to sign up; you don’t need to be an expert to attend. Wine tastings are a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with your palate and gradually develop the skills and vocabulary that will help you discover new wines.

5. Discover different wine regions

 If you enjoy a particular grape variety from one region, don’t miss the chance to try it from a different region. Climate, soil, winemaking practices and other factors contribute to the unique flavours of grapes grown in different regions.

Exploring the same grape varieties from different wine regions can help you understand how these factors influence the wine.

We hope our recommendations and advice will support you in your initial wine journey. As you try more wines, you will notice how your palate evolves. Take notes and pay attention to how food pairings can change your wine experience. And remember, there’s no right or wrong way to explore the world of wine and discover your preferences!

If you want to learn more about wine, don’t miss these two different but equally interesting articles:

4 Tapas and Wine Routes in Spain12 Head-scratching Wine Descriptions
Uva viura: características y tipos de vinos

Viura Grape: Characteristics and Types of Wines

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The Viura grape, also known as the Macabeo, is the most widely planted white grape variety in La Rioja. Its ease of cultivation and generous yield have made it one of the most popular white grape varieties in Spain. Let’s learn more about its characteristics!

The Viura grape has been part of the wine culture in La Rioja for centuries. In the past, it was added in small quantities to red wines to enhance their acidity and freshness. This practice has mostly disappeared today, although the Viura has gained prominence as white Rioja wines have gained popularity among wine lovers.

With the establishment of the DOCa Rioja Regulatory Council in 1926, the Viura grape was listed as one of the three authorised white grape varieties. White Grenache and Malvasia made up the other two.

Thanks to its affinity for warm sunlight, this grape variety has spread beyond Spain’s borders, reaching the southern region of France. It is predominantly produced in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, where it is known as Macabeu. It is most commonly used to create blends with other local white grape varieties.

Uva viura: características y tipos de vinos

Main characteristics of the Viura grape

The Macabeo is one of the most widely planted grapes in Spain and is used in many of its wine regions. In Catalonia, for example, the Viura is one of the three main grapes used to produce Cava, along with the Xarel-lo and Parellada varieties.

It is a fairly adaptable grape variety, although it does not thrive well in excessively humid or dry climates. From a winemaker’s perspective, the Viura has suffered from being labelled a rather bland and low-aromatic grape. However, it exhibits pleasant flavours of orchard fruits, often blended with other varieties to enhance its character.

On the other hand, for some, the neutrality of this grape is considered an advantage. For instance, Cava producers appreciate it because it absorbs secondary flavours well when in contact with lees during winemaking in the winery. In regions like La Rioja, where the Viura has been cultivated for decades, there are low-yielding vineyards that produce more complex flavours and are well-suited for oak ageing.

When Viura grapes are harvested early, they showcase flavours of grapefruit with pronounced acidity. However, when harvested later, the wines tend to have more oak flavours.

When tasting Viura, you will encounter fruity aromas accompanied by floral notes. Sometimes, there may also be hints of anise. Wines made with this grape variety tend to be fresh and have good acidity.

Uva viura: características y tipos de vinos

Types of Viura wines

This grape variety is adaptable, versatile and highly valued among winemakers, which is why it is featured in a multitude of wine styles. In La Rioja, the variety has traditionally been used to produce long-aged oxidative white wines. The Viura is also a key ingredient in Cava production.

Similar to Chardonnay, it can acquire the desired character chosen by the winemaker, whether that’s an easy-drinking option or a more structured wine. It can yield dry and crisp wines, delightful sparkling wines and voluptuous whites often aged in new oak barrels.

Wines made with Viura can be very elegant and develop more flavour intensity and complexity over the years. The typical colour of Viura wines is pale yellow with greenish hues.

It has a low alcohol volume, and regardless of whether it’s a white wine or Cava, it has low levels of potassium and oxidase.

Despite being one of Spain’s most prolific grapes, the Viura has never garnered much recognition. It is rarely mentioned on wine bottle labels and is usually blended and marketed under a regional designation of origin.

This is a European tradition that emphasises origin and terroir over varietal flavours. Nevertheless, the Macabeo grape holds a prominent place in the most prestigious white wines of La Rioja.

Uva viura: características y tipos de vinos

El Coto Blanco made with Viura grapes

El Coto Blanco is one of our DOCa Rioja wines. This wine features citrus notes and a refreshing mouthfeel. It is made with Viura, Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties.

For the vinification of this white Rioja wine, we use grapes from our Finca Carbonera vineyard. The grapes are instantly cooled in an inert atmosphere. From that moment on, and throughout the entire winemaking process, they are maintained at very low temperatures to achieve maximum quality and refined aromas.

When the grapes arrive at the winery for vinification, they are protected from oxidation with a carbon dioxide curtain. Pressing is carried out using pneumatic presses, followed by clarification and must cleaning. Once the cleaning process is completed, fermentation takes place with selected yeasts at a very low temperature. This promotes the development of white fruit aromas.

El Coto de Rioja is renowned for its white wine as the largest wine producer in La Rioja with its own vineyard. We are committed to innovation and have a great variety of grape varieties and wine types. Our winery boasts one of the most extensive ranges of white wines in Spain. You can discover all our wines at:

El Coto de Rioja online store

Like any white wine, Viura wines are the perfect accompaniment to baked or grilled fish dishes and shellfish. They also pair well with seafood paellas, risottos and soups and casseroles.

Serve your cheese board or roasted vegetable dish with a glass of El Coto Blanco served between 7 and 8 °C.

But wait, there’s more! Learn more about the characteristics of other grape varieties with our articles:

What Kind of Wine is Sauvignon Blanc?Chardonnay: Characteristics of the Grape and Wines
Rutas de vino y tapas por España

4 Unmissable Tapas and Wine Routes in Spain

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Iberico ham, Spanish omelette, wine and tapas are integral elements of Spanish culture. So much so, that Spanish even has a word for the concept of going out to delight in a few rounds of tapas: “tapear”. Whether you prefer cold or hot dishes, small or larger portions, we invite you to embark on a delightful tapas tour with El Coto de Rioja throughout Spain, especially now that the holiday season is approaching!

For many food enthusiasts visiting Spain, the ultimate dream is to hop from bar to bar, indulging in all the tapas that come their way. And who can blame them? We, too, thoroughly enjoy the experience of trying tapas.

Whether it’s summer or winter, the streets of Spain are always bustling with people in search of the perfect tapas evening. And, of course, one of the best ways to enjoy any kind of tapas is accompanied by a glass of wine and good company.

Whether you’re savouring a dish of exquisite Spanish ham, relishing a mouthwatering pintxo or delighting in a typical tapa from the city you are in, we can assure you that the combination of gastronomic delights and vibrant ambiance is truly worth it. So, here are our top 4 unmissable tapas and wine routes in Spain.

Rutas de tapas y vinos por España

1. Barrio Húmedo in León

Small and easily explored on foot, León is one of the gems of northern Spain when it comes to culture and tapas bars. What was once the Kingdom of León in the Middle Ages is now a perfect weekend destination. In addition to its incredible Cathedral, Casa Botines and Roman walls, the Barrio Húmedo is a must-visit for foodies.

Its long, winding alleys are full of bars where each drink is served with a tantalising tapa. Here are some of the best tapas the city has to offer:

  • Different varieties of fried potatoes. Depending on the bar you go to, you can find fried potatoes with garlic and cayenne powder, diced potatoes served with spicy pink sauce or garlicky aioli…
  • Morcilla (blood sausage). León is renowned for its morcilla, so understandably, this cured meat is one of the most popular tapas. Cecina (cured beef) is another cold cut commonly served in the city.
  • Garlic soup. It gets cold in León, and what better way to warm up than with a hearty traditional soup and a glass of wine.
  • Potatoes with picadillo (ground meat seasoned with spices). This delicious tapa is typically served with a good hunk of bread.

To go with your morcilla, cecina or cheese tapas, we recommend a fruity red wine. El Coto Crianza is a great choice due to its excellent versatility. We would choose a glass of white wine to accompany our potato tapa. Whether with picadillo or different sauces, we want the wine to contrast with the flavour.

Another León neighbourhood famed for its tapas offering is the Barrio Romántico. Legend has it that this is where military leader El Cid Campeador lived.

Rutas de tapas y vinos por España

2. San Sebastián Old Town

San Sebastián—also known as Donostia—is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. For Spanish and international visitors alike, La Concha beach is a must-visit in the Basque city. But when it comes to tapas, it’s the Old Town that wins us over. Not only will you find history, culture and unforgettable views, but you will also be able to eat pintxos to your heart’s content.

Going for pintxos in Donostia is the best way to spend time with friends and family and enjoy the delicious Basque gastronomy. Also known as the “quintessence of Basque cuisine”, some of the most popular pintxos are seafood-themed: prawn skewers, mini Charlottes filled with cream of spider crab or the lobster pintxo.

And what better accompaniment for seafood than a glass of fine white wine? Among our wide selection of white wine varieties, we would suggest Coto Mayor Blanco and El Coto Verdejo. The latter is the first single-varietal Verdejo white wine in the Rioja DOCa. It is a fruity wine with tropical and fennel aromas.

In San Sebastián, there are hundreds of different tapas to discover. Some of the most common include pintxos with anchovies and chilli peppers, with eggs or with various types of cheeses. Many of them are mounted on a slice of bread and held together with a toothpick. Others, in contrast, are served in a small pot, like the famous Borda Berri risotto.

Rutas de tapas y vinos por España

3. Calle Elvira and Calle Navas in Granada

Let’s head south! With the imposing Alhambra looming over it from one of its hills, Granada welcomes thousands of students and visitors every year. The Albaicín neighbourhood, Sacromonte district, Granada Cathedral and Carrera del Darro are all essential stops in this Andalusian city.

Tapas culture is deeply entrenched in Granada, and it is common to be served a tapa alongside your drink. Calle Rosario, Alhamar, Campo del Príncipe and Plaza Bib-Rambla are just a few areas in the city where people gather to enjoy an appetiser.

Two of the city’s streets are particularly noteworthy for their tapas bars: Calle Elvira and Calle Navas. The former starts at Plaza Nueva and ends at Calle Reyes Católicos. It is always bustling with activity and offers a range of bars serving both traditional and modern tapas. Calle Navas, located near the Town Hall, is considered the “temple” of tapas in the city.

Rutas de tapas y vinos por España

Tapas in Granada are as abundant as its bars. You can find a wide variety to suit every taste. However, the most traditional choices are roasted ham and croquettes.

  • Roasted ham is one of the most popular tapas choices and could be considered one of Granada’s official tapas. In general, roasted pork pairs well with a wide variety of wines. So, why not pair it with a glass of 875 m Chardonnay?
  • Croquettes come filled with many different ingredients, such as meat, fish and vegetables. However, the ones filled with ham and cheese are always a hit. A glass of Coto de Imaz Reserva is a great choice to pair with these tasty fried morsels.

Other popular tapas in Granada include Russian salad, meat in sauce, black rice or paella, migas (breadcrumbs dish), patatas a lo pobre (thinly sliced potatoes with garlic and parsley) and fried fish.

Rutas de tapas y vinos por España

4. Calle Laurel in Logroño

Last but certainly not least we have a tapas route in famous wine region, La Rioja. Logroño is a wine-producing city with numerous tree-lined squares, narrow streets and hidden gems. The Co-Cathedral of Santa María de la Redonda and its Old Town are two imperative sights. Another obligatory stop is Calle Laurel, where you can enjoy tapas and a glass of DOCa Rioja wine.

It is also known as “the trail of the elephants” because that’s how you emerge if you accompany each tapa with a glass of wine—crawling out on all fours and bellowing like an elephant. The street is packed with all sorts of tapas bars, and we recommend enjoying the speciality of each establishment.

Do you fancy a pincho moruno (pork skewer), patatas bravas, fried pig snouts or a plate of mushrooms? With so many tasty options to choose from, we believe the best bet is to try them all. And, since this is our turf, you’ll always find them served with an El Coto de Rioja wine like Coto Mayor Crianza. This is our DOCa Rioja wine that can be savoured in bars and restaurants all over the area.

If you haven’t decided on your next weekend getaway yet, one of these 4 destinations and their tapas and wine routes are the best choice. While you make up your mind, explore our entire selection of wines:

El Coto de Rioja online store
¿Qué tipo de vino es el Sauvignon Blanc?

What Kind of Wine is Sauvignon Blanc?

By Sin categorizar

It’s one of the most popular white grape varieties of the world, prized for its fruity and citric aromas and its refreshingly high levels of acidity. Yes, we’re talking about Sauvignon Blanc. We’re going to take a deeper look into the main features of the grape and its wines! 

¿Qué tipo de vino es el Sauvignon Blanc?

What is Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc refers both to the grapes and the wines made with them. The grape is originally from France, but it’s currently grown in wine-producing regions all around the world.

The name comes from the French word ‘sauvage’, which means “wild”. French producers have been growing this grape for over 500 years, but it’s been growing in popularity thanks to the innovative wines being produced in New Zealand.  

This grape variety was brought to Oceania in the 1970s. Wine-makers quickly realised that the climate was perfect for ripening the grape, and it is now the most common variety grown there.

Although the grapes can be used for any style of wine, the most popular ones are aromatic and fresh dry white wines. Its flavours vary in intensity depending on where it’s grown, from France and Italy to New Zealand.  

¿Qué tipo de vino es el Sauvignon Blanc?

The Features of Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a white grape that makes refreshing dry wines. The colour tends to be a pale yellow that slowly shifts towards light green. This grape is grown in cooler climates, which helps to conserve the aromas, freshness and acidity associated with this beloved grape variety. 

Sauvignon Blanc is generally a medium-bodied wine which is flavourful on the palate and particularly light. As we mentioned before, it has high acidity levels with strong flavours and aromas.

Wherever it is grown, it will always have a unique aromatic blend. From grapefruit, lime and passion fruit to fresh herbs or jalapeño. In warmer climates where this grape is grown, it also takes on flavours of peach and honey. 

¿Qué tipo de vino es el Sauvignon Blanc?

Harvesting and Producing Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc vines prefer sunny yet mild climates, allowing their buds to come into bloom late and their fruit to ripen early. This balance between early ripening and late flowering is the hallmark of these white wines. It is also a feature that oenologists control when it comes to producing this variety of wine.

Sauvignon Blanc grapes are fermented slowly in stainless-steel tanks at low temperatures. This helps to preserve the acidity while also bringing out the different flavours in the fruit. This method allows for the pyrazine chemical compounds in the Sauvignon Blanc to blossom, thus creating the herbal notes in this white wine. 

In total, the process of harvesting, fermenting, filtering and bottling can last around four months. 

¿Qué tipo de vino es el Sauvignon Blanc?

El Coto de Rioja Sauvignon Blanc

Did you know that El Coto de Rioja is the leading producer of white wines in D.O.Ca Rioja? Or that it has one of the Top 3 best-selling white wines in Spain? Among them, we produce three white wines with Sauvignon Blanc grapes: 

  • El Coto Blanco. This is the best-selling D.O.Ca Rioja wine in the world. The grapes come from our Finca Carbonera vineyard, which is the highest altitude vineyard in La Rioja. With Viura, Verdejo and Sauvignon varieties, this wine is very fresh on the palate. You’ll notice aromas of white fruits and citric flourishes.  
  • El Coto Selección de Viñedos Blanco. This wine also comes from Finca Carbonera. Its greenish yellow colour has a refreshing yet smooth lingering after-taste in the mouth. It has aromas of boxwood because it’s grown in cooler areas, but also of tropical and citrus fruits. 
  • Coto Mayor Blanco. Greenish yellow in colour, its citrus and tropical fruit flourishes stand out on the palate. Complex yet balanced, it is a perfect pairing for seafood and fish. You can only enjoy this wine in bars and restaurants. 

If you want to know more about why El Coto de Rioja is a leading producer of white wines, we’ll tell you all about it here: 

The Key behind the Success of El Coto de Rioja White Wine

Sauvignon Blanc wines are the perfect pairing for seafood, rice dishes, griddled or roast fish and pasta dishes. Match your favourite dishes with El Coto de Rioja wines! 

El Coto de Rioja Store
Qué vinos comprar para una barbacoa

Which Wines to Buy for a Barbecue

By Sin categorizar

When the weather’s good, there’s almost nothing better than having a barbecue out in the sun. With your friends or family and a nice glass of wine! Don’t forget to take a look at our wine recommendations that go great with some flame grilling. 

Most people associate barbecues and flame-grilled food with beer, but did you know that wine is also a great option?

We’ll help you work out where to get started when it comes to pairing wine with a BBQ. What’s the best wine to pair with flame-grilled meat? What about white wine? We’re going to talk about barbecues and wine pairings!

Qué vinos comprar para una barbacoa

Pork Ribs with Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco

First things first, we need to bust the myth that pork pairs better with red wine. Change up the traditional pairing and enjoy some pork ribs with a cool glass of Chardonnay. This is one of the most popular grape varieties in the world.  

We recommend Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco. It brings smoothness and aromatic complexity with notes of honey and vanilla aromas, while still respecting its fruity and floral aromas. Even though it’s not normally the done thing to pair white wine with red meat, this wine goes great with game, red meat and beef dishes.

Are you more old-school and want to pair your pork ribs with a red wine? In that case, you should do it with a red wine like 875 m Tempranillo de Altura. It’s an intense yet fresh wine that pairs perfectly with meat, like a good flame-grilled rib steak. It’s also great with charcuterie and hard cheeses for your nibbles while the meat is cooking!

Qué vinos comprar para una barbacoa

Beef with El Coto Crianza

A flame-grilled beef entrecôte is one of those dishes that makes your mouth water whenever you think of it. The pairing for this type of meat should be a robust wine with a good structure. The tannins and acidity of the wine cut through the fats and proteins which, in turn, softens the perception of the tannins.

The star of the table for a beef barbecue just has to be El Coto Crianza. A versatile wine that’s easy to pair with any kind of meat. Of course, if we want our meat medium to rare, we could also enjoy a red such as 875 m Tempranillo.

Qué vinos comprar para una barbacoa

Chicken and 875 m Chardonnay

One of the most commonly used meats for barbecues is chicken. The fact that it is versatile, light and easy to prepare means that it is well suited to chilled white wines. When cooked over a flame, chicken gets even tastier, and we want to pair it with a wine with softer aromas and also with fruity and floral notes. 

Pour out a glass of 875 m Chardonnay, at around 10-12ºC to go with your chicken. The intensity of the wine goes hand-in-hand with the food. That’s why it’s better to use a less intense wine than a red when pairing it with chicken.

Qué vinos comprar para una barbacoa

Barbecued Fish with El Coto Blanco

Even though barbecues are normally meat feasts, some people prefer to see in the warmer months with friends and some flame-grilled fish; in Spain, it’s traditional to enjoy sardines for the San Juan festivities (24th of June). 

For pairing with fish or seafood, white wine is always a fail-safe option. As such, El Coto Blanco is a sure bet to go with barbecued salmon or sardines. This wine goes down very easily and is very fresh on the palate. Its citric and white-fruit aromas are the perfect match for fish.

Qué vinos comprar para una barbacoa

Flame-Grilled Vegetables with El Coto Rosado

Flame-grilled vegetables are the perfect side dish when you’re having a barbecue. Whether it’s meat or fish, you also need a variety of vegetables to enjoy with your meal.

What’s the best wine for pairing with vegetables? We’ve got the answer! You just have to have a glass of rosé at your table, such as El Coto Rosado. With aromas of fresh strawberries and caramel, this is a refreshing wine that, along side these dishes, creates the perfect blend of savoury and sweet in your mouth. It also goes great with nibbles and salads.

So, now you know which wine to buy for a barbecue. The only thing left to do is to message a good group of friends and enjoy!

Visit our online store to find more options!
Chardonnay: características de la uva y vinos

Chardonnay: Characteristics of the Grape and Wines

By Sin categorizar

Chardonnay is one of the most popular varieties of white grapes in the world. It is used to make special white wines that uniquely express the place where the grapes were grown and the techniques that the winery used.

Also known as the “queen of white grapes”, this variety is one of the most commonly grown around the world. It is also one of the most internationally renowned white grape varieties.

The Chardonnay grape is originally from the Burgundy region in France, and its name comes from a small town in the Mâconnais district. This area in Southern Burgundy produces both relatively cheap and high-value Chardonnays.

Chardonnay: características de la uva y vinos

Characteristics of the Chardonnay Grape

Chardonnay grapes are easy to grow in both cooler and warmer climes. This is what has lead it to being one of the most commonly grown grapes on the planet. It’s not just used for making white wines, but also for creating champagne, sparkling wines and dessert wines.

These grapes are a greenish yellow in colour when they start to ripen. They tend to darken into a yellow or greenish brown by the time they’re harvested. They are small in size and round in shape, with quite high acidity levels. In cooler climes, it has flavours of green fruit, while in warmer regions it shifts to flavours of tropic fruits.

The fact that they can be grown in different terrains means that there are many styles of Chardonnay. From smoky citric wines to wines teeming with minerals or even tropical wines with honey tones. In other words, this white wine will have a different flavour depending on where it is grown and on the wine-making process. 

Chardonnay: características de la uva y vinos

Attributes of Chardonnay Wines

Just like any kind of wine, the wine-making process for Chardonnay starts at the vineyards with the harvested, pressed and fermented grapes. If the process is interrupted before the wine is completely fermented, there will be more residual sugar and, as such, the wine will end up being sweeter. If the oenologist lets the fermentation run its course, this will create a drier wine with lower levels of sugar. 

In general, Chardonnay is a medium- to full-bodied dry wine, with low acidity levels and moderate tannins. It flavours range from apple to lemon, or even more tropical fruits such as pineapple.

The origin and size of the barrel and the amount of time the wine spends in contact with it as it ages will determine the intensity of its secondary flavours. If it is aged in oak barrels, it will have a creamier texture with notes of vanilla and spices. If a Chardonnay is aged in stainless-steel barrels, the wine will end up with a crisper consistency with fruity flavours.

Sometime, the winemakers will stir the leas, which are dead yeast cells, during the ageing process to improve the texture and bring out the nutty notes in the wine.

Here at El Coto de Rioja, we have a range of white wines made with Chardonnay grapes. Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco, El Coto Semidulce and 875m Chardonnay. Have you tried them yet? You can buy them on our online store:

El Coto de Rioja store
Chardonnay: características de la uva y vinos

Pairing Chardonnay

What could you enjoy alongside our range of Chardonnay wines? Knowing how to combine different flavours with the right wine can make the whole experience on the palate much more pleasurable. We’ve got some tips on what to pair with Chardonnay: 

  • When pairing a dish with wine, it is important to balance out both the food and the drink. Fortunately, Chardonnay is a very versatile wine when it comes to pairing it with food. 
  • It’s the perfect wine to go with seafood, light fish dishes, goat’s cheese or fresh cheese. A good example of this is our 875 m Chardonnay, which is fermented in the barrel and has fruity and floral aromas mixed with vanilla.  
  • If you want to pair a Chardonnay with meat, we recommend our Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco. This is a reserve wine with a lingering creaminess and a level of complexity in its aromatic notes of honey and orange blossom, which goes perfectly with game, red meat and beef.  
  • Another Chardonnay wine that’s a great choice for pairing with cheese is El Coto Semidulce. This wine with aromas of pineapple and citrus fruit is the perfect choice to go with starters and nibbles, or even desserts and fruit.

With the warmer months just around the corner, white wines are taking centre stage at our tables once again. The serving temperature for a wine with fruity notes, as is the case with Chardonnay, is important. Do you know what the right temperature would be? We’ll tell you more in this article:

Diferencias entre uvas de mesa y uvas de vino

The Differences between Table Grapes and Wine Grapes

By Sin categorizar

There are thousands of grape varieties grown all around the world, but what differentiates a wine grape from a table grape? Keep on reading to find out the main differences between the two types. 

We can all tell a white wine from a red wine, but that’s not always the case when it comes to grapes. If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t go to the greengrocers or the supermarket to buy grapes and turn them into wine… Don’t worry, many other people have pondered this very same question at some point in time. But not many people have dared to ask! 

The difference stems all the way back the the vineyard and the vines that have been planted… We’ll tell you about all the basic concepts that differentiate table grapes from wine grapes.

Diferencias entre uvas de mesa y uvas de vino

Growing and Producing Grapes

Wine grapes are often grown on a slope, and they need to be exposed to the sun at certain times of day to develop a certain flavour. However, unlike table grapes, they don’t need a warm climate. What’s more, it’s not recommendable for them to be exposed to huge amount of sunlight for a large swathe of their life cycle.

They grow in dense bunches and can be of any colour, but they’re never harvested until they’re fully ripe, otherwise the wine might end up with a bitter flavour.

Table grapes can be produced under the same conditions as regular crops, such as wheat or corn, in areas with mild or warm temperatures. As such, they are generally grown in Mediterranean climates. They are planted in areas where the soil is particularly rich in nutrients, and the vines grow at their maximum production capacity.  

Another difference in terms of their growing process is how they are planted: new vines for wine production are grafted on to the rootstock to make them easier to harvest. This also makes them easier to package up and transport to the winery from the vineyard.

Although wine grapes are more commonly grown, table grapes have much higher yields. In one single agricultural cycle, a grower can get three times as many table grapes as they could wine grapes. 

This difference is connected with the methods they use for growing the two types of grapes. Table-grape vineyards are generally grown along vertical trellises that help to space out the grapes and prevent overcrowding. 

Diferencias entre uvas de mesa y uvas de vino

Species of Grapes

Most grapes used in wine-making come from the Vitis vinifera species, which is native to the Mediterranean, including Europe and the Middle East.

Some table grapes also come from this species, but others come from species such as Vitis labrusca and Vitis rotundifolia. The latter two might not make for great wines, but they are delicious to eat. 

The Size of Table Grapes and Wine Grapes

When it comes to making the best wines, the smaller the grape the better. The sugar condenses and thickens when it is in a smaller membrane. With less space for water, wine grapes are mainly fruit juice and seeds. 

The sugar content of the grapes when harvested is around 25 to 30%, while table grapes only contain around 10 to 15% sugar, and the rest is water. Wine grapes spoil much quicker, which is why wineries start fermenting them right next to the vineyards.

Wine fermentation is the stage in the production process in which the must becomes wine.  

In this respect, another difference we can note is that wine grapes are far more acidic than table grapes. Acidity is necessary for ageing the wine. The low level of acidity in table grapes does not allow their juice to age or develop its flavour like wine grapes do.

Diferencias entre uvas de mesa y uvas de vino

Thickness of the Grape Skin

The thickness of the grape skins is another important difference between the types of grapes. When it comes to table grapes, they have a very thin skin, which is not suitable for fermentation. Having thinner skins means that these grapes are easier to eat and more delicious.

Wine grapes have thicker and heavier skins that get even better during fermentation. Their thicker skins and seeds with tannins make the wines drier, which means that wine grapes have more concentrated flavours.

Another difference to take into account lies in the flesh. The flesh of table grapes is normally firmer and more compact, but in wine grapes it is juicier and softer. 

o, What Are Raisins?

Raisins are naturally sweet and rich in sugar and calories, but they also contain fibre, antioxidants and important minerals such as iron.

There are two ways of producing them: drying them outdoors in well-ventilated spaces or by applying artificial heat to them. To create them, the grapes need to be sweet and not particularly large in size with a low level of acidity. Because of this, not all grapes are suitable for making raisins. The three most common species of grapes used for making raisins are Muscat, Black Corinth and Sultana.

Did you know these main differences between table grapes and wine grapes? You can learn more about wine-making and the different stages involved in this process: from harvesting to bottling.  

How Wine Is Made

Now, if you want to try an El Coto de Rioja wine, you can find a selection of crianza, reserve, white and rosé wines, all from the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin on our online store. 

El Coto de Rioja store
Utensilios de vino que deberías tener en casa

6 Wine Utensils You Should Have at Home

By Sin categorizar

Being a wine lover is about far more than simply stocking good bottles. A true wine enthusiast or connoisseur understands the multitude of methods to enhance the wine-drinking experience. Want to find out which wine utensils you should have at home? Keep on reading! 

If you’re passionate about the world of wine or starting to build your own home collection, it’s important to know about some of the accessories and utensils that you may need or that will help give you the full experience. 

There are a great many wine utensils, ranging from corkscrews to decanters, as well as wine bottle opening and preservation systems. Here’s a selection of the essentials to get the very most out of your wine. 

Utensilios de vino que debes tener en casa

1. Wine glasses

A good set of glasses is a must for any wine aficionado. The shape and size of the glass can influence the taste of the wine, so it’s important to choose glasses that have been designed specifically for the type of wine being served. “Should I use a different glass to enjoy El Coto Crianza or a white wine like 875 m Chardonnay?” The answer is yes.

Red wine glasses, for example, tend to be larger with a wider bowl to allow the wine to breathe. Reds have strong flavours and aromas, so the rim of the glass should be wider to enhance the aeration and aromas. White wine glasses, meanwhile, are smaller and have a narrower bowl to preserve the delicate flavours of the wine and keep it at the optimal temperature. White wine does not need as much aeration to appreciate its aromas.  

2. Corkscrew

A wine opener is a key tool for anyone who likes to enjoy wine at home. There are several styles of corkscrews, from trusty hand-held ones to more sophisticated electric openers. The most common is the spiral corkscrew, which uses its sharp tip to extract the cork from the bottle.

Some corkscrews also have a built-in foil cutter to remove the cover from the top of the bottle. The lever opener and air-pressure opener are other common home bottle opening tools.

No matter which type of corkscrew you choose, it’s always handy to know what to do if the cork breaks off. Check out this article to find out how to solve this fiasco:

What to do with a broken wine cork.
Utensilios de vino que debes tener en casa

3. Decanter

Decanting is the process of separating a liquid from the sediment it contains by gently pouring it into another container. This technique serves three main purposes: to aerate the wine by bringing it into contact with the air, to improve its bouquet and to get rid of or filter out sediment in the bottle. 

The most practical way to decant wine correctly is to use a decanter. Depending on its design and why you’re using it, there are two types of decanters:

  • Maximum oxygenation decanters. These types of decanters have a wide base and neck, making them perfect for reservas and gran reservas. One of the most common types is the duck decanter. 
  • Minimum oxygenation decanters. These have a narrower mouth and a longer, less tilted neck. The swan or cornetto decanter are two well-known designs of this type of decanter.

Not all wines need to be decanted. With the exception of reserva white wine, whites and rosés do not need decanting. On the other hand, with red wines like the Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva, decanting aids in aeration, helping to better perceive its taste and aroma. 

4. Wine chiller

Wine chillers are accessories used to keep wine at an optimal temperature. They come in all shapes and sizes, such as ones you can keep in the freezer and portable ones that can be used on the go.

Wine chillers are an essential for anyone who wants to enjoy their wine at the best temperature. Red wine, for example, should be served between 12 and 18 °C (depending on whether it’s a young red, aged, reserva or gran reserva). On the other hand, it’s recommended to keep white wine between 5 and 12 °C.  

There’s always the option to use an ice bucket to ensure the wine stays at the right temperature. However, this isn’t always a great alternative, especially if the table is small or cluttered with lots of plates. 

Utensilios de vino que debes tener en casa

5. Stopper and vacuum pump

We all know by now that wine is affected by oxygen exposure. This happens the moment you open the bottle. The best wines actually evolve as they are further oxygenated, offering something completely new to the drinker in the process.

However, leaving a bottle open for an extended period of time leads to a lot of oxygen getting inside, which can have a harmful effect on the wine should you choose to reseal the bottle. A good vacuum pump will allow you to get rid of the oxygen that’s inside the bottle. So you can seal it back up with a good stopper. That way, you can continue to enjoy the quality of the wine at a later date. 

6. Wine cooler or rack

If you’ve started to build something of a wine collection, at some point you’ve probably wondered: Where’s the best place to store wine: on a bottle rack or in a wine cooler? Storing wine incorrectly can lead to disastrous consequences within just a few weeks. 

Both a bottle rack and a wine cooler are great options for storing wine. If you don’t have a lot of space at home, but want to store your prized bottles properly… Buying one of these accessories will be an excellent investment.

However, there are certain differences between the two. Such as the constant temperature in the wine cellar as well as details and more information. You can read more about in our article Home wine cellar: wine cooler or rack.  

This brings us to our final recommendation: have you heard of anti-drip sheets? This is another practical accessory that is designed to help you pour wine without spilling a single drop.

Now that you know all about the essential wine accessories you need at home, go ahead and try them out! Head to our online store and enjoy the best selection of white, rosé, aged and reserva wines. Have you discovered all our brands and bottles? 

El Coto de Rioja store
Qué es un coupage y cómo se hace

What Is Coupage and How Is It Done?

By Sin categorizar

Coupage is a French term for a winemaking technique. A good coupage can yield qualities that make excellent-quality wines from the grape blends that make it up. If you’re unfamiliar with this method, El Coto de Rioja is here to tell you what coupage is and how it’s done  

Qué es un coupage y cómo se hace

What is a coupage wine?

Wine coupage is the process of blending different grape varieties or different wines to create a new wine with certain desired characteristics. This process is generally used for producing high-quality wines to achieve a specific taste and aroma, as well as superior complexity and balance in the final wine.

Coupage is commonly performed in the production of red wines, although it can also be used to produce white and rosé wines.

Coupage can involve combining different grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, but it can also involve mixing wines from different vineyards or harvests to create a wine that has a similar consistency from year to year. 

Qué es un coupage y cómo se hace

Types of coupage

There are different types of wine coupage, which are used to create wines with specific characteristics. Some of the most common are: 

  • Varietal coupage. Produced with different grape varieties, in specific proportions, to achieve a wine with certain particularities. For example, you might mix Tempranillo grapes with a Grenache grape to get a full-bodied red wine with a fruity taste.  
  • Regional coupage. This coupage type is made by blending different wines from the same region. This results in a wine with specific characteristics of that area. For example, a Rioja wine may be a regional coupage of Tempranillo, Grenache and other local grape varieties.  
  • Vintage coupage. Combining wines from different harvests produces a more balanced and complex wine. Young wines are blended with older ones to create a wine featuring the freshness of the young one with the depth and complexity of the old one. 
  • Barrel coupage. This type of coupage is made by mixing wines that have been aged in different types of barrels, such as French or American oak. This can add different taste and aroma notes to the wine.

These are just a few examples of the types of coupage that can be produced. Combining different grape varieties, harvests and wine ageing processes can yield a wide variety of wines with unique properties. 

10 cosas que no deberías hacer con el vino

How do you do coupage?

The coupage process is carried out by a winemaker, who uses his or her experience and knowledge of the vine to determine the combination of grapes or wines that will produce the desired taste and aroma. The winemaker can mix the wines in different proportions and taste them until the perfect combination is found. 

The aim of coupage is to create a blend that has unique and desirable characteristics that can’t be achieved with a single wine. It’s a vital process for producing high-quality wines and it takes years of experience and skill to reach the most remarkable grape blends.  

Coupage is a technique that can also be used as a tool to create consistent wines every year, even if the weather conditions change and the grapes have different characteristics at each harvest. 

Qué es un coupage y cómo se hace

Coupage process

As we’ve outlined, coupage is the process of mixing wines of different varieties, vineyards or vintages to produce a final wine with a unique taste and aroma. A basic process for producing a wine coupage might involve: 

  1. Selecting the base wines. The wines of different varieties, vineyards or vintages that will go through the blending process. These wines are previously tested and assessed to determine their organoleptic characteristics, such as taste, aroma, acidity, body and balance. 
  2. Blending the base wines. Once selected, they are combined in a specific proportion to create the final wine. The proportion of each base wine will vary depending on the style and taste sought. 
  3. Tasting and final touches. If the wine does not have the desired taste, aroma or balance, additional changes can be made by mixing different amounts of the base wines.  
  4. Ageing. Once the optimal final wine is achieved, it undergoes an ageing process. Depending on the type of wine and the desired taste, it can be aged in oak barrels, stainless-steel tanks or in bottles. 
  5. Bottling. The wine is bottled and labelled with information about the coupage, including the grape varieties used, the proportion of each base wine and the vintage.

Have you tried a wine coupage? Did you know that El Coto Blanco is a varietal coupage of Viura, Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc? 

If you want to know more about the grapes we use to make El Coto de Rioja wines, check out our article on white grapes. Find out more about the Chardonnay, Viura and Sauvignon Blanc varieties here.

Don’t go without heading to our online store first!

El Coto de Rioja store
10 preguntas sobre vino respondidas por nuestra enóloga

10 Questions About Wine Answered by Our Winemaker

By Sin categorizar

In this article, we’re answering your questions about wine that you’ve asked us on El Coto de Rioja’s social media pages. Our winemaker, Susana Rodríguez, is here to guide us through the most common questions asked by both long-time wine enthusiasts and absolute novices. 

10 preguntas sobre vino respondidas por nuestra enóloga

Questions from El Coto de Rioja's followers

  1. How much wine should be served in a glass? Can wine be served in a drinking glass?  

When it comes to enjoying a glass of wine, it’s both the outside and inside that count. So, knowing how much wine to serve and where to serve it is an essential part of the process.  

The glass should never be filled more than one-third of the way up. A normal 750 ml bottle should be enough for five or six glasses. Before serving the glass of wine, remember to hold the bottle by the bottom so that the heat from your hand doesn’t warm the wine, and never rest the bottle on the glass!

While it’s most common to use a wine glass that has been specifically designed to highlight the qualities of wine, it can be served in a drinking glass. Wine glasses are designed to highlight the aromas, taste and visual characteristics of the wine.  

If you don’t have a wine glass on hand, you can use a drinking glass for informal occasions. However, it’s important to note that the type of glass can affect your perception of the wine. We recommend using a transparent and unadorned glass to better appreciate the colour and clarity of the wine. 

2. How long can a bottle of wine last after you open it?  

Once a bottle of wine has been opened, it begins to oxidise, affecting its taste, aroma and quality. How long this process takes will depend on several factors, such as the type of wine, the quality, the way it was stored and the sealing method you use after opening it. Red wines tend to last longer than white wines 

In general, to make sure the wine will have the same flavour and characteristics, you should drink it within 24 or 48 hours.

3. Do all wines improve over time? 

Not all wines improve over time. For the most part, young wines should be drunk within a year, as their taste and aroma may diminish over time. However, some high-quality, barrel-aged wines with sufficient structure and acidity can improve over time and develop more complex and elegant flavours.   

Wines that can improve over time are known as wines for laying down. These are usually red wines with more tannins, acidity and alcohol, allowing them to age slowly and develop flavours and aromas as they oxidise.

10 preguntas sobre vino respondidas por nuestra enóloga

4. Now that the weather is getting better… what wine pairings do you recommend for meals with friends/family? 

Wine pairing is the art of choosing a specific wine to serve with a particular dish or meal, with the aim of enhancing the flavours and aromas of the wine and the food.  

With spring now upon us, the weather is warmer and the days are longer. And with that, terraces, gardens and barbecues are in full swing at the weekend. At El Coto de Rioja we’ve prepared some wine suggestions to pair with dishes you can enjoy in the sun. Don’t miss out! 

  • Meat paella and 875m Tempranillo de Altura. An intense, fresh wine that goes perfectly with the rice, chicken and vegetables in paella. 
  • Seafood paella and El Coto Blanco. Fish dishes are usually best paired with white wine, so if you want to enhance the flavour of your paella with prawns, squid and whatever else takes your fancy, this soft and pleasant wine is the right pairing choice. 
  • Barbecue and El Coto Selección Viñedos Rosado. If you’re looking for an explosion of flavour and to impress your barbecue guests, serve some pork ribs and barbecue sauce with our rosé wine. 
  • Beef and steak with Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva. This is our number one recommendation to accompany mature meat with a strong flavour. Enjoy this wine with notes of red fruit and nuts.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy bite to pick at with friends, you can always serve a cheese board. Who doesn’t like cheese? Here’s an Easy guide for pairing wine and cheese that no one will be able to resist.  

Not sure which wine to buy? Take a look at our online store and discover our selection of wines. 

El Coto de Rioja online store

5. What does it mean to say that a wine is “corked”? 

When we talk about a wine “being corked,” we mean that the bottle of wine has been contaminated with a compound called trichloroanisole (TCA). This gives the wine an unpleasant taste and smell—like mould or damp. 

This chemical, which can taint the natural cork of wine bottles, can also come from other materials in the cellar or from the environment. When cork is contaminated with TCA, it can pass on the unpleasant taste and smell to the wine, even in small amounts.  

It’s important to note that not all wines with cork become contaminated or to the same extent, and in some cases this taste and smell can be very subtle. But, in general, “corked wines” are less-than-pleasant, and you should avoid drinking them. 

10 preguntas sobre vino respondidas por nuestra enóloga

Do you have more questions about wine?

6. Good documentaries or books for wine beginners. 

There’s a wide selection of documentaries and books that will give you a good introduction to the world of wine. Here are some of our suggestions: 

  • SOMM and SOOM: Into the Bottle. These documentaries follow four candidate sommeliers as they prepare for their final exam. The second one delves deeper into the history of wine and wine production. 
  • Red Obsession. This documentary explores the passion and obsession of wine collectors in China and how they are changing the global wine market. 
  • A Year in Burgundy. This documentary chronicles life at seven family wineries in the Burgundy region of France over a full season.  
  • Manos. Several chapters narrated in first person explaining the various processes the El Coto de Rioja artisans undertake to achieve the highest-quality wines. 
  • Wine for Dummies. Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan have written this handy introduction to the world of wine. It covers all the wine basics, from how to taste wine to how to buy and store it. 
  • El mundo del vino (in Spanish). This classic book decodes everything about the history of wine, grape varieties, producing regions and a whole lot more. 

For bookworms, we recommend these 7 essential books about wine. These books are great for all audiences who want to continue exploring the world of wine. The perfect gift (or self-gift). 

Want to learn some wine basics that will help you when buying and drinking wine? El Coto de Rioja has prepared a wine guide for beginnersdownload it for free! 

You can also check out our Wineclasses, which will help you take your first steps in the world of wine with easy, fun and well-rounded tutorials. Mini express classes with helpful tips and tricks for you to experience wine like never before.  

7. Why do they say wine tastes like wood and other things? 

A wine’s taste can be influenced by many factors, such as the type of grape, the region of origin, the vinification process and the ageing. One of these factors may also be the use of oak barrels during the ageing process. When wine is aged in oak barrels, it takes on the aromatic compounds and flavours of the wood.

Wine tasting is famous for having rather peculiar terminology. The descriptors used by experts, sommeliers and critics can be quite ludicrous. At some point, you’ve probably heard of a wine tasting of cat’s pee or wet soil. And how about fleshy, velvety or robust wines? Discover what these terms mean and more strange wine descriptions:

Head-scratching wine descriptions
10 preguntas sobre vino respondidas por nuestra enóloga

8. What is a horizontal or vertical tasting? 

A horizontal tasting includes wines from different producers from the same vintage year, with similar characteristics, such as the same grape variety or the same production region. This allows you to compare the wines and assess their differences and similarities.  

Vertical wine tasting involves trying different vintages of the same wine, produced in different years. In this kind of tasting, you can appreciate how the wine evolves over time and evaluate its ageing capacity and the characteristics of the different harvests. 

9. What exactly is a signature wine? 

Signature wine is a type of wine that is made in small quantities, using unconventional vinification techniques and processes and a curated selection of grapes. Signature wine producers aim to create unique and high-quality wines that reflect their personal style and production philosophy.

These wines are usually produced by small or artisan wineries, which are focused more on the quality and uniqueness of their products. The term is mainly used in Latin American wine-producing countries, especially in Argentina and Chile. But it has also become popular in other European producing countries, such as Spain and France.

10. Do you need to study, train and gain experience for this profession? Or does it take a certain “gift”; a natural innate sensitivity to capture the aromas, flavours, sensations, colours…? Is a winemaker made or born? 

Oenology is the science dedicated to the study of winemaking. While some may have a natural inclination towards the profession, it can be said that in general, you become an oenologist through training and experience 

To be a good winemaker, you need to have knowledge in areas such as chemistry, microbiology, biology and agriculture. You will also need an in-depth understanding of winemaking processes and technology.  

However, winemakers may have a natural talent for tasting and assessing the qualities of wines, which can be an important factor in their career. But, in the end, becoming a successful winemaker requires a combination of natural skills, education and practical experience. 

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