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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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Terms such as “cat’s pee” or “wet dog” are commonly used by sommeliers to describe the aroma and taste of wine, yet to wine beginners, these expressions are likely to come across as a trifle odd. In this article, we’ll tell you about some of the strangest wine descriptions you’ve ever heard and explain what they mean.

Wine tasting is famous for having rather peculiar terminology. Wine experts, sommeliers, critics and wine writers use descriptive language to convey what makes a bottle of wine unique. Some of these descriptors can be quite ludicrous. 

 If you’re a beginner in the world of wine, at first, most wines will taste… like wine. Once you start trying different varietals and get to compare their aromas and flavours, you’ll begin to understand the nuances of each type. If you need help understanding how to taste wine, we have a series of YouTube classes with quick and easy guides. Here’s the first one! 

Aromas of wine

Each wine has a variety of primary aromas that come from grapes (fruity, floral, herbaceous, earthy or spicy), secondary aromas (such as walnutty or buttery notes), which derive from the wine-making process, and tertiary aromas (such as vanilla or cocoa), which come from the ageing stage in barrels or bottles.

Sometimes, experts like to get creative with the way they describe these tasting notes. Some descriptions are intended to convey the essence of the wine or the feeling of a glass of wine. For example, a wine critic might refer to some of them as “intellectually satisfying”. Then there are some wine descriptions that capture their aroma, such as the aforementioned “cat’s pee”. 

Today’s sommeliers are usually much more prosaic, knowing that the average wine drinker will be unfamiliar with the more esoteric and poetic side of wine tasting. However, it’s not uncommon to hear some of these absurd-yet-accurate descriptions at tastings, restaurants or even while enjoying a glass with friends. 

Read on to see whether these are the strangest wine descriptions you’ve ever heard. We’re sure that some will catch you out!

The strangest wine descriptions

  • Mineral wine. This is a term that is becoming more and more common in tasting notes and on wine bottle labels. Wines that are described as mineral also tend to be labelled as elegant, lean, pure and acidic. They have a wet-stone taste and a calcareous texture. Some say the term only applies to white wine, but it can also be used for reds.
  • Elegant wine. Elegant wines convey a rich variety of sensations and emotions both on the nose and in the mouth, striking a perfect balance. Complex aromas and flavours of fruit, wood and from ageing, but in perfect harmony. One example of an elegant wine is Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva, described by our winemakers as “a ripe and elegant wine with a changing and subtle aromatic richness”.  
  • Cat’s pee. This is one of the most attention-grabbing turns of phrase — and not exactly for sounding appealing. Despite how it sounds, there are experts who use this descriptor when talking about a very high-end wine. The molecule 4-methoxy-2-methyl-2-mercaptan butane is responsible for this acidic, funky, pungent aroma, albeit with a very low perception threshold. 
  • Wet dog. At different stages of the vinification, an organoleptic defect may arise that cancels out the fruit and varietal aromas of the wine. It’s a generally non-positive term to refer to an aroma that has been produced after a wine has been stored in the bottle for a long time.
  • Smoke taint. Young wines made with the Syrah grape, which is grown around the world and used for red wine, have a smoky aftertaste. This is caused by sulphur compounds residing in the wine, and it’s not a problem if the aroma is not very strong. 
  • Fleshy wine. Fleshy wine is characteristic of wines that have a greater density and body in the mouth. You could say that it has more to do with touch than taste. The geographical conditions or the varieties used to produce the wines can contribute to this fleshiness.
  • Velvety wine. Velvety is an adjective used to convey the texture of the wine. It describes wines that are smooth and don’t dry out your mouth, while also being dense, especially when it comes to red wines. Coto de Imaz Reserva is an example of a velvety, yet fleshy wine, with mature tannins and notes of fine cocoa.
  • Nail polish remover. Some acids are found naturally in grapes, while other acids are created through the wine-making process. In most cases, these are good acids, but if imbalanced, they can cause problems when drinking. A smell of nail polish remover in wine is due to ethyl acetate, which is what gives the wine its perceived fruitiness. Yet too much of this acid in wine creates pungent aromas that, if combined with too much oxygen, produce a vinegary odour. 
  • Wet soil. This aroma, also known as forest floor, is found in ripe and full-bodied red wines. It is common in the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties. This earthy aroma could be qualified as plants and leaves fallen to the damp forest floor, blended with mushrooms and soil.
  • Robust wine. This portrays a wine that is intense on the nose and in the mouth, with lasting intensity and above-average quality. In other words, it stimulates the taste buds in several areas at once. To experts, these wines are reminiscent of hide and wet leather. This aroma often develops during bottle ageing. 
  • Noble rot. Botrytis cinerea, better known as noble rot, is a fungus that positively affects grape vines. A greyish layer of mould covers fruits and vegetables when the fungus settles on them. But under specific circumstances, such as an environment with wet mornings and dry, sunny afternoons, and usually on white grapes, it produces a characteristic flavour that is enjoyed by both winegrowers and wine lovers. The taste is reminiscent of sweet quince and dried citrus fruits. 
  • Brett. Brettanomyces yeast was first discovered in beer in 1903 and in the fermentation of wort in 1921, yet it was not until 20 years later that it gained relevance in the world of wine. It is commonly found in wineries and can cause wines to deteriorate by producing volatile phenolic compounds. Wines infected with brett have a subtle hint of fruit and a dry, metallic aftertaste. The brett may smell different depending on the wine due to the proportions of yeast in them.

Did you know any of these descriptors? Now you know a little more about the most unusual wine vocabulary, we invite you to keep reading other curious facts about the world of wine-growing:

What is plonk wine and how do you distinguish it?

Finally, don’t forget to stop by the El Coto de Rioja online store, where you’ll find a great selection of top-quality Rioja wines.

Buy El Coto here!
filoxera de la vid


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You may have heard the term “grape phylloxera” and asked yourself, what is it? Well, we can tell you that it is one of the main threats faced by a vineyard, and more accurately, a grapevine.

All species have an enemy that can threaten their growth and survival. Unfortunately, grapevines are no exception. Phylloxera is a plague originating in the United States, where it was first identified in 1854. Find out more about grape phylloxera and its history below.

uva variedad verdejo


The common name for the species is Phylloxera vastatrix. It is a parasitic insect found in four forms; winged, sexual, leaf and root. The leaf form refers to when the insect lives in the leaves. However, the term “root form” refers to when it lives in the roots of the grapevine.

When the parasite lives in the roots of the plant, it feeds on the substances contained within the root through by biting it. This produces cuts on the plant, which is subsequently invaded by fungi and bacteria. This results in the collapse of the plant’s root system. Finally, this leads to the decomposition and decay of the root, and therefore the death of the vine.

The parasite multiplies quickly and can spread through the air and on the ground. It also uses tools used by winegrowers as a vehicle to spread from one place to another. In Europe, it is dominant in its root form. It may appear in its sexual form; however, it is not very common, and it almost never appears in its leaf form.

These parasites can reach between 1 and 1.25 mm in length. In 1868, it almost put an end to wine production in Europe, something that we will cover in the next point. Continue reading and don’t miss this compelling story!

viñedo en Finca Carbonera de El Coto de Rioja


Phylloxera arrived in Europe in the mid-19th century through three trading points: Bordeaux, Porto, and Málaga. Its arrival resulted in a crisis for the European wine industry. The first instance of the plague in Spain was recorded in 1878, in Málaga, and once inside it quickly spread throughout the peninsula.

What did this lead to? This meant that a large part of Spanish winegrowers lost almost all of their vines. However, a particular characteristic of its root form means that it cannot grow in sandy soil, as it stops them from creating the tunnels they need to access the roots. Because of this, several plantations were saved, and therefore also several varieties of grape.

As time went by, those involved in the constant fight against the plague came up with a solution. It was in the United States, where phylloxera originated, that a cure was found that would put an end to this threat. It was made by grafting a European vine onto an American vine that was resistant to phylloxera.

In this way, the American vines became the bases from which to graft all European vines, a technique that is still used today. Currently, direct treatments are applied in the winter and spring months as a form of prevention, but it is a controlled plague.

Technology is advancing and giving rise to another type of alternative to combat this plague. An example of this is carbon disulphide or potassium carbonate. However, although it is considered very efficient, it is quite expensive. Another measure that has been adopted is the cultivation of plantations on sandy soils where the insects cannot attack the plant.

If you found this article of grape phylloxera interesting, then we invite you to read about the stages of a vineyard. Over the course of a year, grape vines go through different stages of change. Discover the facts about this amazing process with us.

Stages of a vineyard: what are they and how many are there?
elaboración vino ecológico


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A wine is organic when it is made following eco-friendly practices throughout the entire production process, from planting the grape to bottling. However, you should know that natural wines are not the same as organic wines. In this article, we want to show you the process of organic wine-making so you know what type of product you are consuming when you purchase one of these wines.

sello eurohoja producción ecológica UE

Certifications and regulations for organic production

Organic production is a way of producing food while taking into account the preservation of the environment, natural resources and animal welfare. It must also be achieved through natural processes and materials.

According to the Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, organic production does not use chemical products, such as fertilisers or pesticides, throughout the entire production chain. This means that organic or sustainable wine-making must adhere to these processes, although there are several other details it must also comply with, which are regulated by national and European legislation.

The EU has therefore recently updated (January 2022) the regulation that governs organic agriculture ((EU) 2018/848). In this way, any wine wanting to label itself as “organic wine” must comply with this regulation, as well as those set out by a recognised organic certifier. Should the product be approved by the certifier, it may carry the EU organic logo or be labelled as organic wine.

The EU organic logo for wine, also known as the “Euroleaf”, has existed since 2010. This shows that the wine complies with the EU’s organic regulations. It is mandatory and appears together with the number code of the control authority.

vino ecológico o sostenible

Making organic wine

Organic wine begins with the cultivation of the grape. In compliance with European legislation, winegrowers making this type of wine cannot use chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or herbicides in the treatment and cultivation of the vine. They may only use natural products.

Unlike US law, European legislation does permit the adding of sulphites in the organic wine-making process. These help to preserve the wine for longer; however there are maximum amounts that can be used:

  • Organic red wine can contain a maximum of 100 mg of sulphites per litre.
  • White or rosé wine can contain a maximum of 150 mg/l.

On the other hand, when employing the clarification technique (adding a substance to the wine that drags suspended elements to the bottom), the clarifying agents must be certified as organic.

In summary, the main characteristics required of organic wine-making are:

  • Use of organically cultivated grapes
  • Use of eco-friendly wine-making techniques and processes
  • Use of organic or natural additives
El Coto Crianza Ecológico, un vino ecológico de El Coto de Rioja

El Coto Organic

El Coto Crianza Organic is our latest wine to be launched that considers those consumers who are concerned with caring for the environment, and who at the same time wish to enjoy a fine Crianza wine.

This wine has two characteristics that set it apart from others in the category.  On the one hand, we must highlight what an organic Crianza is, as most organic wines on the market today are young wines. On the other, we should note that it also comes in sustainable packaging. All materials used to produce the bottles and labels have been selected with sustainability criteria in mind.

El Coto Crianza Organic 2019 was made at our certified installations following EU organic legislations. At El Coto de Rioja we have been developing initiatives to reduce our environmental impact for years, and very soon we will be adding more. We’ll keep you updated!

Now, if you want to try our organic wine, check out the link to our online store below. You can also find it in most well-known supermarkets. Here is another link with more information on the differences between organic, natural and biodynamic wines:

Our organic wine and much more!Sustainable, natural and biodynamic wines
Qué es el maridaje de un vino


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When we talk about pairing a wine, what we mean is matching food with a certain type of wine to get the perfect combination. In this article, we look at what wine pairing is and how to do it easily.

If you know how to combine different flavours with the right wine, the whole experience on the palate will be enhanced. And you don’t need to be a sommelier to do it. In this article, we want to give you a couple of tips on how to get the perfect pairing without even leaving the house. We should mention that any food works when practising pairing. Here are a few simple recommendations to do it correctly. Keep on reading!



Now we know what wine pairing is, let’s put it into practice! You should keep in mind that there must always be a balance, and that the same rules used to choose the menu also apply to the drink that goes with it. For example, avoid serving wine with a fuller body before a lighter one. If you do this, the second wine you serve will go unnoticed.

You should use the same formula you used to choose the order of the dishes you are going to serve. In other words, we normally serve dishes according to the intensity of their flavours and nutrients in ascending order. The same should be done with wines. When choosing them, you should consider the weight of both the wine and the food.

What does this mean? This means that some foods have an intense flavour and a higher specific fat content, just as there are stronger, more aromatic and intense wines, as well as smoother lighter wines. When pairing a dish with wine, we must aim for both to have a similar weight. Always look at the tasting notes of the wine you have bought. Its aromas, nuances, flavours and vintage will give you an idea of which dishes it will combine best with. In our case, our website also includes the pairing that we recommend for each of our wines. You can find them in the Wines section!

Do you want to discover the pairings for Coto de Imaz Reserva, one of our award-winning wines?
Paella maridada con vino blanco El Coto Blanco


This means that if the food you wish to serve is spicy, for example, you should ideally combine it with a wine with a certain freshness. This is known as pairing by contrast as you are creating a balance through contrasting sensations.

On the other hand, when we pair by association, we are looking for the wine and the dish to complement each other. For example, you can associate sweeter wines with your favourite dessert, or white wines with fish.

Keep in mind that it is all about taste. Your own experience in combining flavours, textures and sensations. Remember that wine already has a lot of personality, and we still need to discover how to combine it with our favourite dishes.

We have a lot of articles on our blog where we talk about specific tips for pairing different dishes or foods. We have a guide for pairing cheeses, another for pairing desserts and for pairing your favourite pizzas. Although, to begin, we recommend that you read the following article with a few basic tips on pairing for red wines.

Simple tips for pairing red winesYou can buy all our wines here!
vino tempranillo

Tempranillo Wine: Characteristics and Pairings

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Tempranillo wines are wines made from the grape variety of the same name, native to the Rioja region of Spain. As you know, the El Coto de Rioja winery belongs to the Rioja DOCa, and the majority of our wines are made with Tempranillo grapes. So, as connoisseurs of this raw material, we would like to tell you everything you need to know about Tempranillo wine so you can enjoy it even more.

Coto de Imaz Selección Viñedos Reserva

Characteristics of Tempranillo wine

Tempranillo grapes are the most common in the Rioja region, but this isn’t the only place in Spain where they are found. There are 28 designations of origin that are permitted to grow them. Other countries such as Argentina, Chile, Mexico, California, Australia and Portugal also grow them, but in smaller quantities.

Do you know why it is called Tempranillo wine? You should know that “tempranillo” is not a type of wine, it simply refers to the grape variety used to make it. Its name relates to its short ripening period. In general, it is a grape variety that produces very balanced wines, both in terms of acidity, and in alcohol and tannins. It also adapts well to longer aging in barrels. Young Tempranillo wine is fresh and fruity, with hints of strawberry and berries. As it ages, it develops hints of clove, wood, leather and tobacco. In some cases even offers hints of cocoa, coconut and coffee.

How to pair Tempranillo wine

It is easy to drink, having low levels of sugar and alcohol, so it pairs well with any type of meat, especially red meat, oily fish such as salmon or trout, with stews, or with cold meats and cheese boards.

Remember that the best way to enjoy your wine lies in the finer details of serving it. We can’t just think about what goes best with the wine, we also need to consider the serving temperature. We recommend serving wines from this grape variety at between 16 and 18 °C. In addition, a Reserva or Gran Reserva red wine with Tempranillo grapes can gain in aroma and taste if you decant it. Here’s how you can do it!

comprar online vinos de rioja el coto en tienda barón de ley

El Coto de Rioja Tempranillo wines

The majority of our wines are made with Tempranillo grapes. You probably already know El Coto Crianza, one of the best sellers in Spain, but today we can reveal a couple of new references for you to enjoy a good Tempranillo wine.

Our award-winning wines, Coto de Imaz Reserva and Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva are also made with Tempranillo grapes. It is thanks to this unrivalled raw ingredient and a traditional and nurtured production process that we are able to obtain these great, aromatic, balanced and mature wines. And what can we say about our 875 m High Tempranillo? A Crianza wine produced in the highest vineyard in the Rioja DOCa, fresh and intense, with notes of cocoa and coffee.

Have you tried our 875 m High Tempranillo?You can buy all our wines here!
Tipos de decantadores de vino

Types of Wine Decanters

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If you’re reading this article, you probably already know what a wine decanter is and what it’s used for. If you need more information on this subject, we have another article for beginners where we explain why wine is decanted. In this article, we will focus more on the different types of wine decanters and everything you need to know about how to use them and take care of them. We also recommend a few that we like ourselves!

vinos que hay que decantar

When should we use a wine decanter?

You surely already know that not all wines need to be decanted. White wines and rosés don’t need to be decanted. One exception is reserve white wine with a lot of body and sulphurous notes, which can gain in flavour during decanting.

Robust red wines with a high concentration of tannins, like our Coto Real Reserva or Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva wines also improve in flavour with greater exposure to oxygen. This is because the oxygen softens the tannins and the acidity, and allows possible fruity and floral aromas in the wine to surface.

Another case is when the wine contains sediments, for example, a red wine that has been kept for a long time. We can use the decanter to eliminate the sediment. To do this, place a small, stainless steel strainer at the mouth of the decanter.

You can buy Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva here!

How to use a wine decanter

To use the decanter correctly, we must first add a little wine to the decanter to clean it, as there may be water or dust that can leave behind different tastes or aromas. Then, tip this wine away but pour a little into a glass to try. The taste and aromas that we perceive will give us an idea of how long we will need to decant the wine. Then, take the bottle of wine in one hand and the decanter in the other at a forty-five-degree angle. Without touching the neck of the decanter, pour the wine down the neck in a constant motion. Make sure to keep one finger’s depth of wine in the bottle, as this is where the sediment will remain.

¿Cuánto tiempo hay que decantar un vino?

The time needed to decant a wine varies according to the variety of grape, the resting time in the bottle and the shape of the decanter. Light red wines and light reserve white wines may need 30 to 40 minutes. However, for stronger wines with more body it may take up to one hour. To know how much time you really need, do the test; decant the wine and if half an hour later you don’t notice a smoother or fruitier taste, let it rest in the decanter for another half an hour. 

Once the wine has been decanted enough for you to notice its aromas and flavours, you should serve it and not keep it any longer. You can keep the remaining wine in the decanter with a stopper for another couple of days, but not much more.

cómo decantar vino fácil

Types of decanters

There are different types of decanters depending on their use and design, but generically we talk about maximum and minimum oxygenation decanters.

Maximum oxygenation decanters. The most common, with a wide base for the wine to better aerate, and a wide neck This way it can be maintained better, the wine oxygenates more and any possible sediment remains on the sides when pouring. These are ideal for reserve and gran reserve wines. Another type of maximum oxygenation decanter is the duck decanter.

Minimum oxygenation decanters. These have a narrower mouth and longer, less inclined neck. They are more commonly used for young wines. Designs include the swan and cornetto decanters.

Vino Tempranillo 875m El Coto

Decanters according to the type of wine

We can recommend different decanters according to the type of wine. For example, for red wines with more body, like our Tempranillo 875 m or a cabernet sauvignon, we recommend a decanter with a wide base. This way, the more surface area of the wine that is exposed to oxygen, the quicker it will decant. If we talk about a medium-body wine like a merlot, it’s better to user a medium decanter, and for pinot noir or lighter wines, we suggest a smaller one.

There are also different types of glass used to make wine decanters. Crystal is more resistant and is used to create styled decanters, while those made from glass are thicker and simpler in shape. Although both options are valid, if you are going to use a washing machine, it is better to go for glass.

How to clean a decanter

To clean your decanter we advise using a neutral, unscented soap, as this may affect the wine. Never use vinegar to clean it, as its strong smell may ruin your wine in the future. Ideally, you should use a long brush or specific wiper to reach all parts of the decanter, especially if it is styled. Remember to dry your decanter well before using it!

Our personal recommendation is to choose a classic wine decanter, because they are much easier to use and to clean, and are generally more durable. For example, this Decántalo is very stylish and practical at the same time.

Our favourite decanter
Qué hacer si te dan un vino a probar antes de servirlo

What to Do When You’re Given Wine to Taste Before Serving It

By Sin categorizar

Have you ever been to a restaurant or bar and the waiter gives you a bit of wine to taste before serving it? If you’re not a wine expert, but you like to enjoy a glass when out for lunch or dinner, this article is for you. Follow these tips on wine-tasting etiquette so that you know exactly what to say and do when you’re given wine to taste at a restaurant. Take note and become a sommelier for a day!

It’s not common in all restaurants, but if it’s a wine bar or a restaurant with an ample wine list, you’ll always be poured a drop of wine to taste before serving it, especially if they open the bottle for you. Then the waiter stands waiting for your approval, and you wonder to yourself, what is it I should be tasting? Do I just need to know whether it’s sour and spoiled or am I supposed to find the tasting notes?

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How to know if a wine is bad

Most restaurants and bars don’t have a professional sommelier, so don’t worry because what you should do in this situation is simpler than it looks. What they mainly expect from you is to check that the wine’s in good condition. It doesn’t happen often, but the wine may have pricked if it’s been stored incorrectly or if it has undergone sudden temperature changes.

Another defect that can occur is corked wine. This problem occurs because of a molecule known as TCA (trichloroanisole) found in wood and cork. When TCA comes into contact with wine, it can spoil it, causing a strong odour of moisture or mould and affecting its flavour. Sometimes it’s difficult to detect the smell, but if the wine is tainted by this molecule its flavours will have been altered and it probably won’t taste very pleasant. So, if you smell the wine and get a whiff of wet cardboard or damp, like a basement, we recommend that you ask the waiter to bring you another bottle of the same wine to taste.

On the other hand, the wine may be oxidised. This means it’s been exposed to too much oxygen. How do you tell if your wine is oxidised? Well, it’s usually easier to detect than corked wine. For example, oxidised white wines tend to turn yellower and reds browner. In addition, the taste tends to become more bitter and rough.

Cómo catar el vino

How to taste wine to know if it’s good

To detect all these possible unpleasant aromas and flavours, all you have to do is check the colour with the glass on the tablecloth. Next, swirl the glass a couple of times on the table to aerate it and release its aromas. The next step is to inhale it deeply and take a small sip, swilling the wine around your mouth. If you perceive any of the smells and tastes mentioned above, don’t be afraid to order another glass of wine or another bottle. Also, let the waiter or sommelier know what’s wrong with it. The same if it has sediment or there are bits of cork floating in your wine.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to taste a wine and identify all its aromas and flavours, we have some very interesting classes for you. Do you know our WineClass series on YouTube? Check out our first video below, they’re very short and easy to take in. We’ll also leave you another related article with some easy tips for ordering wine in a restaurant or bar and always getting it right.

WineClass 1: wine's colorTips for ordering wine in a restaurant and getting it right
Los taninos del vino

Tannins in Wine: What You Need to Know

By Sin categorizar

f you like wine, this probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard this term. But, do you really know what tannins are and what they do? This article offers a useful and simple explanation on everything you need to know about them. Take notes for your next wine tasting!

Los taninos del vino

What are tannins?

To put it simply, tannins are compounds that occur naturally in the skin, seeds and stalks of grapes. You may have also heard of polyphenols in wine. Well, tannins are scientifically known as hydrosoluble polyphenols, compounds that are also present in other foods such as coffee or chocolate.

In red wine, when the skin and seeds come into contact with the must, they acquire these substances that produce the astringency and dryness that you note in some wines. In fact, in the descriptions of certain wines you may find that it is described as tannic if it is particularly rich in tannins.

On the other hand, aged wines also acquire tannins through contact with wooden barrels.

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What do tannins do in wine?

Tannins act as natural antioxidants that help protect the wine and also provide colour, structure and a dry and slightly bitter taste. In addition, as you will know, polyphenols are valued in the areas of health and nutrition for their anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic properties.

There are studies that show that black grapes are rich in phenolic acids, flavonoids and resveratrol. The latter is one of the most important substances because it helps reduce blood pressure and to look after our cardiovascular system. Other research also shows that resveratrol is important in the fight against cellular ageing, so it should be considered as an asset in degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. That said, wine is an alcoholic drink and we should always enjoy it in moderation.

Cómo elegir un buen vino sin gastar mucho dinero

Do all wines contain tannins?

As we have already said, tannins in red wine are acquired from the pips, husks and skins of the grapes used in the alcoholic fermentation of the must. By contrast, these parts of the grape are removed in the pressing of the must when making white wine. Thus, white wines contain fewer tannins, with those aged in barrels containing more.

On the other hand, we must consider that some grape varieties have more tannins than others. The tempranillo variety (like our 875 m Tempranillo),  

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Mencía have a high presence of tannins. By contrast, the Garnacha or Pinot Noir have much fewer. In addition, we are fortunate that Spanish wines are richer in tannins as the sunny climate helps them proliferate, and because the wine-making processes are quite traditional and maintain the natural properties of the grape.

If you would like to know more about other compounds in wine such as sulphites, find out more in this article:

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