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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. 

Vinos de España: denominaciones de origen

Spanish Wines: Designations of Origin

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Spain is the second biggest wine producer and has the largest vineyard surface area in the world. Spanish wines range from delicate white wines to decadent reds. Read on to learn more about Spanish designations of origin.

The world of wine is a vast, diverse landscape that’s rich in nuances. Because of this, we use characteristics to classify and define them as a whole. These include the production country and the geographical area within that country; the vintage; the grape variety, winemaking process and the type of ageing. 

One of the best qualities of Spanish wine is the wealth of varieties produced thanks to our numerous wine regions, climates and types of Spanish grapes.

Vinos de España: denominaciones de origen

What is a wine with a designation of origin

European law recognises two levels of quality for all member countries: Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and wines with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).

Wine with Protected Designation of Origin has a seal that guarantees that it is entirely produced in a specific wine region. It also gives consumers the assurance that the wine was made following specific officially regulated quality criteria.

The Regulatory Council is the body that oversees Designations of Origin. This council is in charge of regulating, controlling and guaranteeing the quality of wine, as well as promoting and defending it. 

Vinos de España: denominaciones de origen

Spanish Designations of Origin

There are currently more than 90 different Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs) in Spain, which include Cariñena, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry y Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda, La Mancha, Penedès, Ribeiro, Rueda, Toro and Valdepeñas. These are just some of the best-known and oldest.

Within the PDO, there is another classification that splits wines into:

Qualified Designation of Origin (DOCa)

This is the highest category in Spanish wine and is reserved for regions with above-average prices and the most exacting quality controls. For a long time, there was only the Rioja DOCa, until the Priorat DOCa was added in 2003. 

In addition to the requirements for DO, there are other criteria wines must meet to achieve this top-shelf seal:

  • It must have been recognised for at least ten years as a DO. 
  • All bottled wine must be sold in registered warehouses and located in the defined geographical area. 
  • It must have a quality and quantity control system in place from production to selling. 
  • It cannot be housed in wineries with wines that don’t have the DOCa, except VP—single-estate—wines from the same region. 
  • The area suitable for producing wines eligible for the DOCa must be mapped out. 

Designation of Origin (DO)

Rules for DO include the permitted grape varieties, ageing and types of wine. DO wines must meet the following conditions:

  • Made with grapes from the region. 
  • High prestige in trade due to its origin. 
  • Its quality and characteristics are due solely to the geographical environment and its natural and human factors.  
  • It must have been recognised for at least five years as a Quality Wine with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
Vinos de España: denominaciones de origen

Single-Estate Wine (VP)

This category was introduced in 2003 along with the VC. VP is only for wines from a single estate, in a very specific area and with specific climate and soil characteristics. These wines are unique and very distinguishable, and the VP Designation serves to protect the name and the winemaking method. It is also used to maintain and improve the qualities of these wines over time.

Quality Wine with Geographical Indication (VC) 

This is a wine produced and manufactured in a specific geographical area with its own grapes. Its quality, reputation and characteristics are due to the geographical environment and human factors.

This category is used for wines that do not fully meet the strict standards of the DO category but are above the standards of the Vino de Tierra—Local Wine (VT) category.

Vinos de España: denominaciones de origen

Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin

This is one of the most important designations of origin in Spain, both for its international prestige and for its highly influential winemaking tradition and the fame of its wines in the Spanish market. In addition, it is the oldest DO in the country and one of only two DOCas.

El Coto de Rioja carried out its first Rioja DOCa harvest in 1970, and only 20 years later, established itself as a leader in Rioja wines. Thanks to its prestige, it is growing in export markets and quickly gaining worldwide renown.

With more than 800 hectares of vineyards, El Coto de Rioja is the largest winegrower of the Rioja DOCa. The Finca de los Almendros, one of El Coto de Rioja’s estates, became the largest vineyard in the entire Rioja Designation of Origin in 2004. Its Finca Carbonera is the highest-altitude vineyard in Rioja and grows the newest white varieties authorised by the Regulatory Council.

Discover El Coto de Rioja, Rioja’s leading winery for white wine, rosé wine, crianzas and reservas: 

El Coto de Rioja online store
Vinos de España: denominaciones de origen

Other prominent Designations of Origin

In addition to the Rioja DOCa, Spain has other distinguished DOs. These include: 

  • Priorat Qualified Designation of Origin. Along with the Rioja DOCa, these are the only Spanish Qualified Designations of Origin. These wines are made in the north-eastern province of Tarragona. The Priorat DOCa is grown in the great mountainous expanse located at the foot of the Sierra de Montsant. The hardness of the soil, the adaptation of the different varieties and the winemaking and production system are the characteristics that have led Priorat to achieve its exclusive quality seal.  
  • Ribera del Duero Designation of Origin. This is another of the most important DOs in the country, especially when it comes to young red wines. It includes quality wines made in Burgos, Valladolid, Segovia and Soria. The Ribera del Duero DO’s main varietal is the Tempranillo, but there are five other grape varieties accepted by the Regulatory Council: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Grenache Noir and Albillo Mayor.  
  • Rueda Designation of Origin. These are wines made in the Community of Castilla y León, between Valladolid, Segovia and Ávila. The Rueda DO is defined by three main characteristics: its Verdejo grape—a native variety—, continental climate and gravelly soils with small stones. Sauvignon Blanc, Viura and Palomino are its other white wine varieties.  
  • Rías Baixas Designation of Origin. One of the most important designations of origin in Galicia, where one of the most prestigious wines in Spain is produced: Albariño wine. Its key elements are the Atlantic climate and the rarely changing rainfall and temperatures throughout the year. The Rías Baixas DO has five wine-growing sub-zones that share the specific conditions that characterise these wines, albeit with differences. The white grape varieties accepted in the Rías Baixas DO are: albariño, loureira, godello, treixadura, torrontés and caíño blanco. Red grapes include red caíño, red loureiro, espadeiro, pedral and castañal, etc. 

The winemaking process is key when it comes to qualifying a wine as a Designation of Origin. If you want to know more about winemaking, from harvesting to bottling, don’t miss this article:

How wine is made

Home wine cellar: wine cooler or rack? Which is better?

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If you’re a wine-lover, you know that how you store a bottle is just as important as what is inside it. If you’re thinking about setting up your own wine cellar at home, it’s normal to have a few questions. One of the most common: wine cooler or rack? Which is better? With this post, we’re going to help you make the right choice for your needs.

Did you know that improper storage can have a negative impact on your wine in just a few weeks and substantially shorten its lifespan? Temperature fluctuations, excessive heat or exposure to sunlight can cause wine to lose aromas and flavours, or make other, unpleasant ones develop or even lead to the feared oxidation.

Although it may seem obvious, the best place to keep wine is in a cool, underground cellar, a place designed specifically to meet the needs of storing wine. But natural cellars require a substantial investment in time and money that many can’t afford.

So, when thinking about making your own home wine cellar, the most common question is whether to buy a wine rack or a special wine cooler. First of all, both are good, affordable options, but it is important to understand which is better for your wine. 

What is a wine cooler?

A wine fridge or cooler uses technology to maintain a stable temperature, which can be adjusted manually. The perfect temperature for most wines is 15 °C because it keeps the flavours and nuances from being affected by the heat without slowing down the ageing process.

The main difference between a wine fridge and a natural wine cellar is that the former lets you personalise the perfect temperature for small wine collections. Dual-zone wine fridges have two sections that can be set at different temperatures: one warmer for reds and the other cooler for whites.

Wine fridges come in a variety of sizes, from simple bench-top models that hold 6 bottles to ones with space for more than 200 bottles. This makes them the perfect choice for small spaces and collections at home. They can go in the kitchen, living room or dining room for comfort and easy access to your home wine cellar. 

What is a wine rack?

If you can’t afford a wine cooler, or don’t think you need one, a wine rack is the cheaper option. A wine rack is a shelving unit designed specially to store bottles of wine. They come in different shapes and sizes, including both stand-alone and wall-mount units. The number of bottles a wine rack can hold varies, so you should choose one based on your needs and the space available. 

Wine racks are often put in the kitchen, but they can also go in the cellar if you have one, where the environment is perfect for wine. Outside a cellar, there’s no guarantee that the storage conditions will be right for your wine bottles. This could be a serious problem for wine collectors and connoisseurs.

Just like the temperature (wine should be kept between 7.5 °C and 18.5 °C, whether white or red), there is also an optimal humidity for storing wine: 70%. If the air is too dry, it will have the same effect as storing the wine in a space that is too cold, and could promote moulding. Although this shouldn’t be an issue if the bottle has been properly sealed.

A wine rack can be a good short-term solution, especially for small wine cellars at home because it is important for it to be properly placed and not overly affected by external factors like light and humidity. 

Find out the perfect temperature for each type of wine

How to store open bottles of wine

It is also important to think about what to do with a bottle of wine if you don’t finish it. Regular wine-drinkers don’t often finish a bottle when they open it, unless it is a special occasion or celebration. Vacuum stoppers are the perfect solution because they keep the wine from coming into contact with air and oxidising. Then, the bottle should be kept vertically and finished within the following five days for optimal flavour.

Unlike other beverages that can easily be stored in the fridge, wines are more sensitive and have stricter requirements for proper storage. As we’ve already said, how a wine is stored and handled can significantly affect its flavour and quality. If not stored properly, even the most expensive, delicious wine can go bad quickly. 

We have more tricks on how to store wine at home to enjoy it at its best:

How to store wine at homeDiscover more wines from D. O. Ca. Rioja!

A Menu (and Pairing) for a Very Easy Romantic Dinner at Home

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We love going out for dinner, but there’s also something special and cosy about staying home and cooking for the people you love. Whether it’s a romantic dinner, a get-together with friends or a family meal, at El Coto de Rioja we’ve got the best pairings to impress your fellow dinner partner(s). On this occasion, bearing in mind that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, we’ve come up with a menu (and pairing) for a very easy romantic dinner at home.

February 14th is a date that is loved and hated alike. However, whatever your romantic situation, it can be a good excuse to celebrate the love and connection you share with your partner, a friend, or even a group of like-minded people. 

 With that in mind, we’ve come up with an almost-effortless Valentine’s Day menu with wine pairings that’ll win everyone over. Take a look!

Starter: cheese board

Cheese is one of the most classic appetisers to savour a good ageing red wine with. Serve your cheeses with some sweet sides such as figs, quince, blueberry jam, or some grapes for an easy-to-prepare dish that will get the conversation going while you whet your appetite.

A selection of 6 to 8 cheeses is a great starter. A soft white cheese, strong soft paste, cured, hard, blue cheese… variety is the spice of life (and keep in mind the number of diners if you’ve decided to host a Valentine’s dinner for friends). If you want to take things a step further, you can make cards with the name of each cheese.

The presentation of the cheese board is essential. On a classic wooden board, on a tile or slate, line the cheeses from softest to strongest and cut each one differently (cubes, slices, sticks, etc.). You can also add nuts, fruit, bread, or jam to go with it. 

 Serve this starter with a glass of El Coto Crianza, a soft and balanced tempranillo that pairs perfectly with cheese. It’s also an easy red wine to drink with meat, fish, and Spanish cold cuts. So, if you’re looking for something extra for your starter, we recommend the acorn-fed Iberian ham from Dehesa Baron de Ley to add the perfect gourmet twist.  

Main course: oven-baked sea bass with potatoes

White fish is always a good choice when it comes to dinner. Oven-baked sea bass with potatoes is as easy to make as it is delicious. Read on to find out what ingredients you need and how to prepare it.

INGREDIENTS (for two people):

  • 1 sea bass with the central spine removed and flaked 
  • Potatoes  
  • 1 clove of garlic 
  • 1 onion 
  • Fresh parsley 
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • White wine 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Ground black pepper 
  • Salt 


  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into half a centimetre thick slices. Cut the onion the same way. On a tray, mix the two ingredients together with the bay leaves, season, and drizzle over a couple of tablespoons of oil. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 °C, with top and bottom heat. 
  2. Put the potatoes in the oven on the middle tray for about 20 minutes. Then stir and bake again for another 20 minutes. 
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, wash, dry and chop the parsley. Mix with a dash of oil and white wine along with the finely chopped garlic. 
  4. Once the potatoes are done, place the sea bass on top (you can remove the head of the fish). Season and drizzle a splash of oil over it. Place the tray in the oven for 5 minutes. 
  5. Using a kitchen brush, spread the mixture of garlic and parsley on top of the fish and potatoes, and leave in the oven for another 5 minutes.

And that’s it! This delicious dish takes less than an hour to make. You can enjoy the cheese board and wine while it’s cooking in the oven.

Once the main course is served, we suggest pairing it with the 875 m Barrel-Fermented White. It’s a very elegant chardonnay with a touch of tropical fruits and vanilla that’s not at all commercial, allowing you to discover new flavours and aromas.

Dessert: strawberries, cream, chocolate…

To complete our menu (and pairing) proposal for a very easy romantic meal in, we had to end with something sweet. The strawberry is known as “the queen of fruits” for its heart shape and supposed aphrodisiac properties. We can’t think of a better dessert for the most romantic day of the year!

You can serve them chopped in a bowl with a little sugar, chocolate or cream, in a mousse… and, of course, accompanied by a glass of fruity, refreshing wine. El Coto Rosé, with its aromas and flavours of fresh strawberries and caramel, will add an even sweeter touch to the evening.

We hope you liked this menu idea, and let us know on our social media if you decide to try it out (@cotoderioja).  

Here are some other ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home. But first, don’t forget to pick up some special wine from the El Coto de Rioja online store.

How to celebrate Valentine’s Day at homeDiscover the best wines to celebrate with here!

Wine Sediment: What You Need to Know

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Have you ever noticed sandy particles in your wine glass? The gritty bits you see floating in your wine are called sediment, a by-product of the elaboration process that looks like crystals and has a grainy, sandy texture. Here’s everything you need to know about wine sediment.

We’ve all been there. You’re enjoying a delicious bottle of wine then, when you get to the end of it, you find yourself in for a “nasty” surprise. But this sediment is a reminder that wine is a natural product, made with one ingredient: grapes.

Keep reading to learn more about wine sediment and what you need to know so you don’t freak out the next time you see it in your glass. 

What is wine sediment?

Wine sediments, also known as “wine diamonds” or “wine crystals”, are natural remnants of the wine-making process. While it may look off-putting, sediment is completely natural and mainly made up of organic matter, such as grape skins and seeds. However, there is one ingredient you may not be so familiar with: tartrates.

Tartrates are crystal-like pieces that resemble burgundy-coloured diamonds when present in red wine and clear diamonds in white wines. They arise from tartaric acid binding with potassium, which are both natural ingredients in vinification.

Wine sediment is also made up of dead yeast, referred to as lees in the wine-making world. Lees are formed when the dead yeast cells are left over in the wine after the fermentation process. They are completely harmless and, in fact, add body and flavour to the wine.

How does wine sediment form?

During the fermentation process, potassium and tartaric acid bind together, and yeast cells transform the naturally occurring grape sugars into alcohol. When fermentation is done, the tartrates and the lees are left in the wine. To remove them, winemakers came up with cold stabilisation. 

Cold stabilisation is the process of chilling the wine to 0 °C for an elongated period of time (around three weeks). This causes the remaining sediments to turn into large crystals, which can be collected easily and removed. Fun fact: these crystals are then ground up and sold as cream of tartar, a popular baking ingredient.

While you may think of sediment and wine crystals as a bad thing to find in your wine glass, many winemakers choose to leave it in their wines. Since wine crystals don’t affect the taste, sommeliers and winemakers often see them as a sign of quality and proof that the wine hasn’t been over-processed.

Wine sediment affects red wine more than white, but it’s present in both.  

How do you remove wine sediment?

While it may not seem it, wine sediment is safe to drink. It doesn’t have much of a taste, more of a texture. Since sediment comes from natural ingredients, it’s nothing to be afraid of.

While we understand that having a mouth full of grit when you’re just trying to enjoy a nice glass of wine may not be ideal, you can avoid getting a shock if you open the bottle at home. 

Decanting is the best way to remove sediment from wine. All wine lovers should have a good decanter, and in fact, they were invented to help wine drinkers get rid of sediment. They also help the wine get to a good temperature and give it a chance to breathe and look elegant on the table.

To decant successfully, leave the bottle upright for a day or two before serving. This should cause all the sediments to settle at the bottom. When ready to serve, carefully pour the wine, keeping a close eye on the sediment. If it moves towards the neck of the bottle, stop pouring.  

If you’d like to know more about why wine is decanted, the different types of wine decanters there are and how to use and look after them, check out this article: 

Types of Wine Decanters

Another way to avoid wine crystals is to opt for high-quality red wines. Because red wines don’t need to be chilled for optimum quality, they are far less likely to go through cold stabilisation and thus form wine crystals. However, you could still get other forms of sediment, such as lees and grape particles. 

Red wine gets its hue and tannic flavour from the naturally occurring tannins found in grape skin, so when red wines are fermented, matured and bottled, they are more likely to have more grape particles suspended in it.

Wines also form more sediment as they age. During the ageing process, molecules combine to form tannin polymers, which fall to the bottom of the bottle, creating more and more sediment.

Now that you know more about wine sentiment, don’t be alarmed the next time you see it at the bottom of your glass! Remember, it’s harmless and is considered a sign of quality by winemakers.  

Want to learn more about wine-making? Learn about the importance of wine fermentation and the different types there are:

What is wine fermentation?

Don’t go without visiting our El Coto de Rioja online store.

Buy El Coto here!
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