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Diccionario del vino El Coto

Wine dictionary: what is a foudre or a Gran Reserva?

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We’re back with another instalment of our Wine Dictionary! Each month, we look at 5 concepts from the world of oenology so you can learn even more about wine. This time, we’ll explain what foudres are, the characteristics of Grenache grapes and how a wine becomes a Gran Reserva, among other things. Want to be a bit more of a wine expert? Make sure you read right to the end!

Qué es un fudre

Foudre

Foudres are high-capacity containers like you see in the picture, in our winery. They are casks that hold between 10 hl and 200-300 hl that are laid horizontally, with a round or cylindrical base.

They are a classic tool that many wineries use to age both red and white wines, perfect for any grape variety when you don’t want the wood to have too much weight in the final flavour of the wine.

We talked about this and all the different types of wine barrels and their characteristics a few weeks ago. Did you see the post? If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss out!

TYPES OF WINE BARRELS: CHARACTERISTICS AND CAPACITIES

Grenache

When we talk about the Grenache grape, the first thing we should say is that there are 4 different varieties: Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc, Alicante Bouschet and Grenache Gris. Grenache Noir or red Grenache is originally from Spain, the Aragon region to be precise, and it is the most widely produced red variety in Spain. Did you know that? Let’s look at the characteristics of each type of Grenache grape.

Grenache Noir

We use this grape variety to produce aromatic wines, medium bodied with good acidity. For example, El Coto Crianza Garnacha is a wine made exclusively from this grape variety and is fresh and balsamic with delicate aromas of cherries and red fruit. 

Grenache Blanc

This is a white variety of the Grenache Noir grape and yields fruity wines with quite a lot of body and a lovely golden colour.

Alicante Bouschet

This is another red grape variety that produces wines with lots of colour, aromatic and fruity, lower in alcohol that the previous two varieties.

Grenache Gris

Finally, the grey variety is a mutation of the red version that is typical in Catalonia, where it is also known as “garnacha peluda”. It gets this name, which means “hairy Grenache”, from the fuzz that covers its skin. It produces wines with very high alcohol content and lots of colour.

Qué es la uva Garnacha
Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva

Gran Reserva

Do you know what makes a wine a Gran Reserva? Obviously, ageing time in the barrel and the bottle. The Rioja Regulatory Board establishes the following requirements for a wine to be considered a Gran Reserva, like our Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva: 

  • Gran Reserva for red wines: Aged on oak for at least 24 months, followed and complemented by at least 36 months ageing in the bottle. Have you tried Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva?
  • Gran Reserva for white or rosé wines: Aged on oak and in the bottle for a total of at least 48 months, with at least 6 in oak barrels.

 In our previous instalment of the Wine Dictionary, we talked about the phases of a wine’s evolution and ageing. Do you know them? Do you know the difference between the two?

WINE DICTIONARY: DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE DEVELOPMENT AND FERMENTATION OF A WINE ARE?

Herbaceous

When we talk about a herbaceous wine, we mean it has aromas and flavours reminiscent of plants, with a touch of “grass”. This, in the right amount and referring to the primary aromas in a tasting, is very positive because it is reminiscent of hay and other types of aromatic plants, making the wine a very attractive drink.

Too much of this type of aromas and flavours, however, can be unpleasant. Why? Because it could mean the grapes weren’t ripe enough or that other parts of the bunch were left in, among other possibilities.

Vino herbaceo
Que es el hollejo de un vino

Grape skins

And now the final entry of the fifth instalment of our El Coto de Rioja Wine Dictionary! When we talk about grape skins, we mean the very thin membrane that covers the grape. And they are essential to the quality and flavour of wines! The grape skins are where the tannins and pigments are found. Plus, yeast on the skins are what set off the reaction known as spontaneous fermentation to create the wine.

If you haven’t read the previous parts of the wine dictionary, we recommend you don’t miss:

WINE DICTIONARY: COUPAGE, STALKING… DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN?WINE DICTIONARY: DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE DEVELOPMENT AND FERMENTATION OF A WINE ARE?
Como abrir botella vino sin abridor

How to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew

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We’re sure you’ve been caught out at least once needing to know how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew.

 

It’s typical when you’re on holiday, staying in an apartment or home you’re not familiar with and, when you go to open the wine, bam! The kitchen has everything but a corkscrew or wine opener. Or it breaks and there’s nothing else to open the bottle with. Or you’ve just misplaced it and can’t find it anywhere. And if you’re far from the shops or they’re all closed…you’ve got a problem.

But don’t worry! If you want to enjoy your glass of wine even though you don’t have an open to hand, here are some tricks (that take more skill than strength in most cases) to resolve the problem whenever it comes up.

 

Good luck!

Como abrir vino con un cuchillo

Option 1: How to open a wine bottle with a knife

The most important thing here is to choose a knife that is less wide than the cork, so it will fit in the bottleneck, and has a very sharp point.

  1. Set the bottle upright and slide the knife into the cork halfway (more or less, you’ll have to do it by feel).
  2. Then try to turn it very slowly, rocking from side to side, to pull it out of the bottle.
  3. It takes a lot of patience and skill or you’ll end up with pieces of cork in the bottle or cracking the cork in two.
  4. Pull up slowly and viola, bottle open!

Option 2: Open the wine by pushing the cork into the bottle

One of the most common solutions to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew is to just push the cork into the bottle. Obviously, this isn’t the best option but if you’re going to drink the whole bottle in a sitting, it will get you out of a tight spot!

To do this, you need a cylindrical object without a sharp point, so you don’t destroy the cork as you push it in and break it into a million pieces. If it’s a silicone cork, however, something sharp will do. Take a fat marker or lipstick, for example, and push the cork until it falls into the bottle.

Stop by our shop, whether you have a wine opener or not
Abrir el vino empujando el corcho
Trucos para abrir un vino sin abridor

Option 3: Open the wine with a shoe

Did you know you can open a bottle of wine with a shoe? And no, you don’t need a stiletto or something like that. What you have to do, with patience and skill, is:

  1. Find a flat shoe, without a heel, like a slipper or a moccasin.
  2. Put the wine bottle in the heel of the shoe.
  3. Tap the heel against a wall, holding the bottle firmly in your hand. The shoe will cushion the blows, but make sure you protect the bottle carefully.
  4. Repeat several times, with gusto.
  5. The cork will push out little by little and, when it’s out about two centimetres, just pull it out with your hand.

 

If you like these tricks, we’ve got some for removing red wine stains…

Here is how to get rid of wine stains!

Option 4: Open the bottle with a screw

This is the closest thing to a corkscrew for opening a wine bottle.

  1. All you have to do is screw a long screw into the cork, slowly, nearly all the way in.
  2. Then, with some pliers on the head of the screw, prise it out slowly, moving back and forth.
  3. When the cork is partway out, like in the previous options, finish the job with your hands!
Como abrir botella vino con un tornillo
Ideas para abrir un vino sin sacacorchos

Other options for opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew

With scissors

The process with scissors is exactly the same as the one with a sharp knife: put the tip halfway into the cork and turn the handle of the scissors slowly and prise the cork out.

With house keys

Push the tip of a long key into the cork at an angle. Then turn it as you pull upwards. Slowly but surely, and carefully so you don’t break the cork, it will end up coming out.

With a hanger

You’ll need a wire hanger you can reshape, bending the tip into a hook: time to catch a cork! Push it all the way in, through the cork, and then pull up. It will act just like a hook and remove the cork easily.

After all that, did you know our special format wines come with screw tops so you no longer need a corkscrew? For example, El Coto Crianza de 37.5cl.

All our special formats
Tipos de vinos blancos en España

Types of white wine in Spain

By Sin categorizar

There is a wide variety of types of white wine in Spain spanning the whole country with different characteristics, colours, ageing, grapes… A whole universe of whites!

Obviously, white wines differ from reds and rosés mainly in the type of grape used to make them: white grapes. Plus, white wines tend to have a different ageing process than red wines, based on whether they are considered Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva.

In this article, we’ll see different types of white grapes from Spain, and different types of white wine based on carbon dioxide, sugar and ageing. Here we go!

Tipos de uvas blancas España

Types of white wine in Spain by grape

Dozens of white grape varieties are grown in our country, but we’re going to look at some of the most well-known.

Verdejo

Type of white grape originally from Rueda, in Valladolid. Wines made from this grape are mainly known for being light bodied, highly aromatic and having balanced acidity. One good example is El Coto Verdejo. Have you tried it? It has fine and intense aromas of tropical fruit, fennel and aniseed.

Chardonnay

It’s true that Chardonnay grapes are originally from the Burgundy region of France, but they are now grown in many areas of our country, especially La Rioja. At Finca Carbonera, the highest altitude estate in DOCa Rioja, we make our 875m Chardonnay, a spectacular white wine with aromas of pineapple and vanilla.

In the third part of our wine dictionary we explained in detail the characteristic of Chardonnay grapes. Have you read it yet?

Wine dictionary: discover all about Chardonnay grapes

Albariño

Albariño grapes are one of the most widely recognised in our country, mainly from Galicia. It is a small grape, fruity and quite sweet. Wines made from this grape pair wonderfully with fish or seafood.

White Grenache

We generally think of Grenache as a red grape variety, like the one used to make our El Coto Garnacha Crianza, for example. But there is also a white variety, native to Spain. It has floral and fruity nuances.

Viura

Viura grapes are very typical in La Rioja and Catalonia. They are used to make fresh, young wines that are also great for barrel ageing. For example, El Coto Blanco is a blend of Viura, Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc. It is fresh, citrus flavoured and pairs beautifully with roasted fish or seafood.

Airén

This is one of the most abundant wines in our country, found in Castile-La Mancha and Madrid.

As we said at the beginning, there are many more types of white wine in Spain, but these are some of the most important ones. If you want, you can learn more in Vinetur magazine.

Sauvignon Blanc

This grape, originally from the French region of Bordeaux, is also quite common today in various types of white wines in Spain. It is a grape with mainly fruity, floral aromas, and we use it for our incredible Coto Mayor Blanco.

Malvasia

Finally, we can’t forget the Malvasia grape variety, given its importance in many aspects. One of the most curious and noteworthy: it is one of the oldest grapes in our country. This grape is high in sugar, making it perfect for sweet wines. Wines made from this grape are fresh and light, with deeply fruity aromas.

These are all of our wonderful white wines
Tipos de uvas blancas
Gas carbonico vino blanco

Types of white wine in Spain by carbon dioxide and sugar

Another way to categorise white (and rosé) wines in Spain is by whether (or not) they contain carbon dioxide. This gas is produced as the must ferments, although CO2 can also be added artificially. This is one of the traits easiest for consumers to identify, along with the wine’s sugar level, so we’re going to look at these two characteristics together.

Wines without carbon dioxide or still wines

Any type of white wine without carbon dioxide falls into this category. Here are the subcategories by sugar level.

 

  • Dry: less than 4 g/l
  • Off-dry: 12 – 18 g/l
  • Semi-sweet:18 – 45 g/l
  • Sweet: over 45 g/l

Wines with carbon dioxide or sparkling wines

There are two categories, based on what we call the wine’s atmospheres of pressure. This just means the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide in the wine, expressed on a scale of atmospheric pressure, with a maximum of 6 atmospheres of pressure.

  • Semi-sparkling wines. Between 1 and 2 atmospheres. These are not considered a sparkling wine, as they have a tiny bit of carbon dioxide from the origin of the grape variety or how they are made but, once open, it is released without forming bubbles.
  • Sparkling wines. More than 3 atmospheres. Champagne and Cava are considered natural, quality sparkling wines. However, sometimes this pressure is added artificially to the liquids. These are the subcategories by sugar level for white sparkling wines:
  • Brut Nature: 0 – 3 g/l
  • Extra Brut: up to 6 g/l
  • Brut: up to 15 g/l
  • Extra Dry: 12 – 20 g/l
  • Dry: 17 – 35 g/l
  • Demi Sec: 33 – 50 g/l
  • Doux/Sweet: over 50 g/l

Types of white wine in Spain by ageing

Now we’re going to look at types of white wine based on how they are aged.

  • Young wines: wine bottled within months of being harvested.
  • Wines aged on their lees: wines that, after fermenting, are left to rest on their lees. They are more complex and fuller bodied. For our Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco, the ageing on its lees in the barrel and the characteristic freshness of the high-altitude vineyard at the Finca Carbonera estates give it an extraordinary, persistent unctuousness and aromatic complexity.
  • Barrel-fermented wines: wines that undergo alcoholic fermentation in a barrel (fully or in part). This gives them aromas from the wood and they last less in the bottle.
  • Barrel-aged wines: after being fermented in the barrel, these wines spend 6 more months ageing there, which helps them last longer in the bottle. A good example is 875m Chardonnay.

If you want to keep learning about wines, don’t miss articles like this on our blog.

TYPES OF WINE BARRELS: CHARACTERISTICS AND CAPACITIESHOW TO GET RED WINE STAINS OUT
Tipo crianza vino blanco
Diccionario del vino El Coto

Wine dictionary: Do you know what the development and fermentation of a wine are?

By Sin categorizar

We’re moving through our Wine Dictionary! As you know, every month, we do a deep-dive into 5 words, 5 concepts from the wine world to help you learn about oenology. Today we’re going over some interesting concepts. Do you know what we mean when we say a wine is “structured”? And do you know what fermentation is? And development?

As always, we’re going to take apart 5 words, this time: Designation of Origin, ageing, structured, development and fermentation.

We hope you’ll keep on coming back to the El Coto de Rioja Wine Dictionary because there’s still a lot to learn!

Designation of Origin

Designation of Origin is a certain region, district, town or place that has been recognised to designate wines that meet a certain series of conditions. What does that mean? It means that there are a series of prerequisites for a wine to be given a DO, or a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) or a DOCa (Qualified Designation of Origin, a separate Spain term).

Do you want to know what the prerequisites are that set each of these designations of origin apart? Did you know that there are only two DOCa in Spain, and one of them is DOCa Rioja? Don’t miss this article!

Find out everything you wanted to know about Designations of Origin!

Ageing

Ageing is what we call the process that takes place between fermentation and when we drink the wine. In Spain, depending on the length of ageing, a wine will be classed as joven, crianza, reserva and gran reserva, however, we are going to look at barrel and bottle ageing to understand this a little better:

  1. Bottle Ageing

This is the first stage, and there are many factors to take into consideration when the wine is ageing. The type of ageing doesn’t just depend on the time it spends in the barrel, but also the type of barrel, among other things. For example, a Gran Reserva wine will have spent 2 years in the barrel, just like our Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva.

  1. Bottle Ageing

After spending the set time in the barrel, the wine will keep on ageing and developing in the bottle. The bottles are laid down horizontally in insulated wine racks with no light or changes in temperature. As you know, this position is necessary to keep the cork constantly in contact with the rime. In this stage of bottle ageing the wines may be left for periods ranging from 6 to 24 months.

Types of barrel and ageing times for wine

Structured

It’s not easy to tell what exactly a structured wine is because they are a lot of elements connected with what we call the “structure of a wine”, which is one of the most common terms we hear during a wine tasting.

We can split the structure of a wine into three components: tannins, acidity and alcohol. The structure of a wine depends on these three points, with all of them being present but none of them standing out over the rest.

In general, when we speak about a structured wine, we mean a harmonious, well-rounded, solid wine with a pleasant taste. We could say that a structured wine is a balanced wine: for example, a wine in which there is just the right amount of tannins with pleasant notes.

El Coto Selección Viñedos Crianza is a structured wine

Development

The development of a wine is connected with the ageing, but isn’t exactly the same. The development is related to the changes that the wine goes through in the bottle, but this obviously starts at the very beginning, on the vine. Let’s look at the stage of development of wine in a bottle: 

  1. Maturing stage

The maturing stage is the first thing that happens, which is the time it takes to gradually increase its quality.

  1. Peak stage

In this stage, the wine reaches its peak stage of maturity, because all of the smells and aromas give off all of their complexity and settle in the wine.

  1. Fade stage

Lastly one a wine has reached the peak stage in maturity, it moves into a phase that we call the “fade”, which is the stage of development in which it starts to lose its properties. In this stage it loses body and structure.

Fermentation

The wine fermentation process refers to the process that turns a wort or grape juice into an alcoholic beverage. There are two types of fermentation:

  • Alcoholic fermentation

 During the alcoholic fermentation of a wine, the micro-organisms in the grape turn the sugars into alcohol in a completely natural way. The yeasts that cause alcoholic fermentation are micro-organisms that, along with bacteria, break down organic material.

  • Malolactic fermentation 

Furthermore, we have malolactic fermentation, which is the process in which malic acid becomes lactic acid. In red wines, this normally takes place after alcoholic fermentation. Malic acid is what normally causes the acidity and freshness of some wines, such as white wines.

Did you miss our latest Wine Dictionary posts? Take a look!

WINE DICTIONARY: COUPAGE, STALKING… DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN?WINE DICTIONARY: WHAT IS THE BOUQUET? A BALSAMIC WINE?
Tipos de barricas de vino

Types of wine barrels: characteristics and capacities

By Sin categorizar

Wine barrels are much more important than you might think to the final flavour of a wine. They are where it gets its characteristic aromas and flavours. By the way, did you know they were originally only used to transport wine? This is how, over time, people discovered that the wooden barrels imparted many nuances on the liquid inside, greatly improving its taste in some cases.

We’re going to do an in-depth analysis of the different types of wine barrels, their capacity and the time a wine has to spend in them to be considered a Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva. Here we go!

Oak barrels: American, French and Spanish

Did you know that DOCa Rioja wines are aged in oak barrels? We’re going to look at the various types of oak we find, their characteristics and what they impart on the wine.

American oak

When we talk about American-oak barrels (Quercus Albar), we’re talking about a hard, strong yet permeable barrel. This type of barrel gives wines stronger, “sweeter” notes, which can include coffee, cocoa, coconut or vanilla. We can even sometimes find touches of black pepper or cloves. American-oak barrels tend to impart fewer tannins than other types. Our Coto de Imaz Reserva spends at least 18 months in American-oak barrels.

French oak

Another type of wine barrel is made of French oak (Quercus Petrea). It is softer than the previous type and known for the balanced aromas gives the wine, with more balsamic notes, plus honey or nuts, as the predominant ones. Oxygenation in these barrels happens more slowly than in American-oak barrels, and they give the wine more tannins.

Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco spends 12 months in new steam-bent French-oak barrels (and the lees are stirred periodically (battonage) to maintain this wine’s characteristic fruitiness while also promoting its complexity, unctuousness and longevity.

I’m going to try it!

Spanish oak

Less well-known than the other two types of wine barrels, since Spanish oak (Quercus Petrea or Quercus Pyrenaica) used in winemaking is quite scarce. It is similar to French oak thanks to the region where it grows, and it has great aromatic qualities, imparting mature, tantalising, enveloping notes.

All of our wines are aged in oak barrels

Acacia, cherry or pine barrels

Less well-known, but with great characteristics: let’s look at three other types of barrels for making different types of wine.

Acacia

There are different types of acacia barrels, depending on how much they have been toasted: medium-toasted barrels are used for ageing red or white wines, while untoasted acacia barrels are used only for white wines.

Cherry

Like with acacia, in cherry there are two types of barrels (medium-toasted and untoasted), although both can be used for white or red wines. The main difference is the aromas: if the barrel has been toasted, the wine will have fruit aromas, but with a characteristic “toasty” touch that will completely mark the wine. If it is untoasted, we get aromas of red fruit, including cherries. 

Pine

Finally, this type of wood is found in barrels used for winemaking in the Canary Islands. Wines aged in this type of barrel are known as “vinos al tea” and they have some aromas reminiscent of pine sap.

Qué es un fudre

Different barrel capacities

According to the DOCa Rioja Regulatory Board, Rioja wines are aged in 225-litre barrels (known as Bordeaux barrels), racked periodically, and then finished in the bottle. Did you know La Rioja is considered to have the largest inventory of barrels in the world, with over 1,300,000?

For storing wine, we also have foudres: large casks (200 – 300 hectolitres) that are laid horizontally, with a round or cylindrical base, as you can see in the picture.

Want to learn more about all our wineries?

Barrel time for wines

What does the DOCa Rioja Regulatory Board say about how long wine has to be aged in the barrel to be a Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva?

Barrel ageing for Crianza wines

Wines can be considered a Crianza in at least their third year. For a red wine to be a Crianza, it has to have spent at least 12 months in the barrel. For white and rosé wines, the minimum barrel-ageing is six months. The first day of barrel-ageing counted for wines can never be before 1 December of the year the grapes were harvested. This is the day it starts for El Coto Crianza!

Barrel ageing for Reserva wines

  • Red wines: Aged on oak and in the bottle for a total of at least 36 months, with at least 12 in oak barrels.
  • White and rosé wines: Aged on oak and in the bottle for a total of at least 24 months, with at least 6 in oak barrels.

Barrel ageing for Gran Reserva wines

  • Red wines: Aged on oak for at least 24 months, followed and complemented by at least 36 months ageing in the bottle. Have you tried Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva?
  • White and rosé wines: Aged on oak and in the bottle for a total of at least 48 months, with at least 6 in oak barrels.

We recommend you don’t stop learning about wine, with these fascinating articles:

WHAT ARE WINE POINTS, WHAT ARE THEY BASED ON AND WHICH ARE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL?DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DO, DOP AND DOCA FOR WINE

6 must-have books for wine-lovers

By Sin categorizar

World Book Day is just around the corner! And we couldn’t think of a better gift for a wine-lover than a good book for them to enjoy while learning about the fascinating (and complex) world of oenology. You don’t have to be an expert, we have recommendations for all sorts of audiences: from total beginners to the most experienced in the world of wine. And if you not only like wine but enjoy pairing it with good food…keep your eyes peeled because we have great options on wine pairings.

Don’t miss these 6 books on wine to give a loved-one (or yourself) and enjoy the coming months in the world of oenology. 23 April is just an “excuse” to lose yourself in their pages…

La cata de vinos / Wine Tasting
Lluís Manel Barba

Level: Beginner

Focus/Style: Basic concepts

The book “La Cata de Vinos” (Wine Tasting) is full of fun facts, stories, tips and tricks, an A to Z glossary… Everything you need to turn a beginner into a wine-lover, with a fun, entertaining style. You’ll find all sorts of information on oenology culture, from the basics to pairings and DOs.

The author, Lluís Manel Barba, has a degree in oenology and agricultural and agrifood engineering. He has extensive experience in several fields in the wine world, including as a teacher of oenology at Hofmann Culinary School and training sommeliers.

The Winemaker, Noah Gordon

Level: Beginner

Focus/Style: Historical novel

Let’s continue our recommendations for books about wine with this historical novel that takes place first in France in the late 19th century and then moves to Catalonia during the same time period. Josep Álvarez, the main character in this novel, learns the incredible art of winemaking from a French winemaker. This fact marks the rest of his life. Josep sets off on a complex yet fascinating adventure: making a great wine.

An entertaining, easy novel that is packed with history. It is very interesting to see how Noah Gordon skilfully gives such an accurate, lifelike view of winemaking in this area of Spain. A story full of political intrigue, wine and love that we heartily recommend.

Taste, Roald Dahl

Level: Beginner / Intermediate

Focus/Style: Fiction, short story

Continuing on with another book on wine, in the same vein but completely different from the previous one. Now we’ve got one from the marvellous author of classics Roald Dahl: an illustrated short story that is highly entertaining and accessible for all levels. Did you know this book was first published in 1945?It tells the story of six people seated around a dining table. One of them is “wine connoisseur” Richard Pratt. Pratt often makes small bets with the other diners, especially Schofield, to guess the wine being served with the meal. But when Schofield brings out the second wine of the evening, he remarks that it will be impossible to guess. And Pratt takes up the challenge… Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Any of these books, and the others still to go on the list, are perfect gifts. Even more so if you pair them with one of our gift packs designed specially to surprise on a special day, or just because!

Pair the book with a gift pack from El Coto

What Wine Goes with This Duck?, Ferrán Centelles

Level: Intermediate / Advanced

Focus/Style: Wine and pairings

What Wine Goes with This Duck? is required reading for anyone who wants to further their knowledge of wines by looking into pairings with one of the most renowned experts in this area: Ferrán Centelles, former head sommelier at elBulli.

In this book about wine and food, you’ll find everything from classic pairing theories to more modern takes on the subject and personal stories from the author. Pairing wine and food is something that really gets people hooked, so this is a perfect gift for anyone who loves good food and good wine: in short, for the gourmand in your life.

In 2017, it won the prestigious Gourmand World Award for best Food and Wine book.

Los nuevos viñadores, Luis Gutiérrez

Level: Advanced

Focus/Style: Specialised, wine-growing

Carrying on with our books on wine, let’s move into a more advanced level, in this case with The New Vignerons, a book about the new generation of Spanish winegrowers. It looks at everything from their personal histories to their efforts to rescue and revive varieties from winemaking regions all over Spain.

The author, Luis Gutiérrez, is the Spanish representative for Wine Advocate, one of the most influential publications in the world in wine scoring. In fact, the forward is written by Robert Parker himself, one of the most influential wine critics of the past 30 years. Parker calls this book “an extraordinary work that is distinctive, original and will make a fabulous contribution to the literature of fine wine.”

By the way, do you know about wine points and who awards them? Find out in this post on our blog!

WHAT ARE WINE POINTS, WHAT ARE THEY BASED ON AND WHICH ARE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL?

Papilas y moléculas, François Chartier

Level: Advanced

Focus/Style: Advanced pairing, Science

We’re concluding this list of must-have books for wine-lovers with Taste Buds and Molecules by François Chartier. A book for the most advanced students in the wine world that discusses the “science of pairing”, for wine and food.

In fact, Chartier helps us create ideal harmonies in food and wine pairings by identifying aromatic “families” that are key to finding the perfect balance both in recipes and in pairing wines and dishes. Although it may sound like a complicated concept, this book is easy to read, entertaining, interesting and has it all for those who love pairing.

If you want to learn a bit more each week with us, you’ll find interesting posts like these on our blog.

WHAT SERVING TEMPERATURE IS RIGHT FOR EACH TYPE OF WINE?HOW IS ROSÉ WINE MADE? WE’LL TELL YOU!

6 bars and restaurants with terraces to enjoy El Coto in Madrid

By Sin categorizar

We’re always on the lookout for bars and restaurants with a terrace in Madrid. Even more so if there’s the chance of enjoying a decent wine like El Coto de Rioja with a good meal! When we say El Coto, we mean El Coto Crianza, Coto Mayor, Coto de Imaz Reserva, El Coto Verdejo, etc.

If you’re looking for inspiration for one of these spring days, in this article we want to recommend 6 bars and restaurants with terraces in Madrid to enjoy El Coto wines, pairing them up with outstanding food such as patatas bravas, a truly traditional cocido stew, a good cut of meat or modern and innovative dishes.

It goes without saying, but please remember to follow the health and safety regulations set by the Regional Government of Madrid.

Bon appétit!

1. La Gran Tasca

Calle de Santa Engracia, 161.

Chamberí

We’re kicking off our recommendations with this restaurant with a terrace in Madrid. Since La Gran Tasca first opened its doors to the public back in 1942, this charming place has become an icon both for the Chamberí neighbourhood and the entire city of Madrid and boasts one of the best cocidos (a traditional stew) in the entire city. The stew comes in two servings: firstly, a delicious soup (of which you can ask for seconds), followed by a platter of chickpeas, two types of blood sausage, bacon, free-range chicken and much more, up to 15 ingredients.

This culinary delight paired with a bottle of our El Coto Crianza is one of our favourite choices for enjoying food that’s truly traditional in Madrid. However, if you prefer white wine, they also have El Coto Verdejo. And if you were wondering, yes, this is the platter you can see in the header!

2. Bodega de la Ardosa

Calle de Santa Engracia, 70. 

Chamberí

Staying in the same neighbourhood, we come to this tavern with over 100 years of history, brimming with life, which is also one of the Chamberí bars that boasts a terrace, making it ideal for taking in the neighbourhood atmosphere in springtime with a glass of El Coto in hand.

Although, if there’s one thing La Ardosa is famous form it’s their patatas bravas: home-made, delicious… and pretty spicy! They also have a range of traditional fare, such as zarajos (lamb intestines wrapped around a grape vine), torreznos (pork scratchings) or pickled anchovies. We promise that this is an absolute “must” in Madrid, with traditional dishes and reasonable prices. All of what they have on offer would go perfectly with Coto Mayor or El Coto Crianza. These are wines that you can enjoy in the tavern, or buy them there to enjoy at home.

Fun fact: this tavern was founded in 1892 and its painted tiles are period originals, created by the acclaimed ceramicist Alfonso Romero.

3. El Gallo Canta

Calle de Jesús, 2.
Barrio de las Cortes

Moving on to the Las Cortes neighbourhood, we come to a modern, sophisticated and cosy tavern. They describe themselves as “specialists in free-range eggs, select pork from Teruel and simple cuisine based around seasonal produce.”

At El Gallo Canta they have a menu to whet your appetite, with star dishes such as pork tenderloin or pork shoulder in “salsa rusticana”, which they make themselves (you can even get some to go!), and some of our outstanding wines to go with your food, such as Coto Mayor, El Coto Verdejo and 875m Chardonnay. Do you fancy trying it out and telling us what you think?

4. Marta Cariño

Calle de Silva, 4.
Palacio / Universidad

Marta Cariño is a hip and fun option for enjoying a bar with a terrace in the heart of Madrid. On Calle Silva, just a stone’s throw from Gran Vía, there’s a two-storey venue with different spaces.

In terms of the restaurant, you can sample top-quality modern dishes, such as a carpaccio of Iberian pork shoulder with crispy cheese bites and a creamy almond and foie gras soup, which goes divinely with our Coto Mayor.

Or what about arroz caldoso del capitán (a broth with rice, scarlet prawns, monkfish and razor clams) paired with El Coto Verdejo? You can enjoy these dishes and many other mouth-watering delights paired with our wines, and finish the evening off with a cocktail on their terrace. Without a shadow of a doubt, a fail-safe plan.

5. Taxi a Manhattan

Calle de la Basílica, 17.

Tetuán / Azca

Modern, laid-back food. A different and original venue. Food for all tastes. Taxi a Manhattan is all of this and much more, a restaurant that sets out to “research and import all the most original flavours from the trending neighbourhoods in New York: Brooklyn, Soho, Nolita, China Town and Little Italy”.

What we love about their menu is the hamburgers: once you try one, you’ll be hooked! And nothing goes better with a good hamburger than a good wine. If you’re more into fish, you just have to try their red tuna tartar or their griddled octopus with mojo rojo sauce, paired with El Coto Semidulce.

6. Ferreiro

Paseo de la Florida, 15.

Moncloa – Aravaca

Feito, Manolo and Ernesto are the three brothers that hail from a line of restaurateurs from Asturias, who have been operating in Madrid for over 40 years. Restaurante Ferreiro, on Paseo de la Florida, was the first venue they opened in the city.

Their menu contains a range of high-quality seasonal produce, deeply rooted in traditional cuisine but with a contemporary flair. Gizzards sautéd with porcini mushrooms over a foie gras demi-glacé, Santoña anchovies, cured beef from León, cachopo “Ferreiro”, (two veal fillets stuffed with Iberian ham and Vidiago cheese, bread-crumbed and fried) or a delicious line-caught hake, are just some of the dishes you can find on their extensive menu.

A tavern where you’ll feel right at home, and where you can wash down some of their dishes with an incredible Coto de Imaz.

5 PLANS TO WELCOME THE SPRING WITH WINE
Diccionario del vino El Coto

Wine dictionary: assemblage, destemming…do you know what they are?

By Sin categorizar

We’re back again for the monthly instalment of our El Coto wine dictionary! As many of you already know, each month, we look at 5 words from the world of wine and explain some interesting facts.

This time, we’ve chosen: Chardonnay, clarete, cork, assemblage and destemming. Do you know them all? Do you know what they really mean? We’re sure you’ll learn something new in this instalment of the wine dictionary… So don’t forget to read to the end!

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a grape variety originally from the Burgundy region of France, although it is now found in loads of countries, including our own. It has small or medium-sized bunches and ripens early. Chardonnay vines are hearty and adapt well to many types of soil, being quite high yield.

In terms of the grapes, this variety has fruity aromas, including citrus and tropical fruit, such as lemon and pineapple. Plus, its characteristics make it suitable for barrel fermentation, like our 875m Chardonnay, a wine that undergoes alcoholic fermentation in new steam-bent French-oak barrels.

The perfect wine for dishes like fish stew, arroz caldoso, foie, oily fish, seafood… It’s amazing!

I want to try 875m Chardonnay

Clarete

Did you know the word “clarete” comes from the French word “claret”? Claret is a pale red wine from the Bordeaux region. When we talk about “clarete”, though, we’re always referring to an assemblage (we’ll see what that means below!) of red and white grapes.

Want to know the difference between a clarete and a rosé wine? We explain it all in a blog post… Don’t miss it!

How is rosé wine made?

A quick summary: clarete is a wine made from two types of grapes (white and red), while rosé is only made from red grapes but using a different fermentation process from red wine. For a more detailed explanation, check out our blog post on rosé.

However, there is one thing these two wines have in common: they should both be consumed within the year of being bottled and nice and cool (7 or 8 degrees Celsius). This goes for our El Coto Rosado, too.

Cork

Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak, a tree that grows in France, Portugal and Spain, which is the second largest cork producer in the world. The main reason this material was chosen to store wine is that it is waterproof yet porous.

Because the cork is much more important than it seems: it is simply essential to the quality of any wine. Its main function is to protect the wine’s traits over time, and ensure it is preserved and can evolve in the bottle.

Porousness is key because for a wine to age it needs oxygen (just the right amount, called micro-oxygenation). So, thanks to the porous cork, oxygen can get in while keeping bacteria and mould out.

One interesting fact: the cork should stay wet while wine is stored. That’s why bottles are stored on their side, so the wine is in constant contact with the cork.

Assemblage (or coupage)

The most common assemblage consists in blending different types of grapes to create a more special or “complex” wine. The opposite of an assemblage is a varietal wine, which is only made with one variety of grape.

There are different types of assemblage:

  1. Assemblage of different grapes

As we said, the most common assemblage is a blend of different types of grapes. Taking into account, however, that many DO regulations establish minimum percentages for certain grape varieties. In DOCa Rioja, one of the most common assemblages is Graciano, Mazuelo and Tempranillo grapes.

  1. Assemblage of different vintages

Another type of assemblage uses the same type of grapes from different harvests, helping improve the final product, normally making up for shortcomings in the grapes from one harvest with the positive traits of those from another.

  1. Assemblage of grapes with different traits or ageing processes

Not all grapes are the same or age in the same way… That’s why another type of assemblage blends grapes of the same variety with different characteristics or that have been aged differently.

By the way, don’t know the differences between DO, DOP and DOCa? Don’t miss this article!

Differences between DOs for wine

Destemming

This is the first step grapes go through when they reach the winery, to separate the stems from the grapes. What are the stems? All the “woody” bits of the grape bunch. This process improves the colour and taste of the wine, avoiding stronger, more astringent nuances. Plus, this step gives the wine a more concentrated colour, saves space during pressing and slightly increases the alcohol level.

 Nowadays, this phase of winemaking is done by machine, called a destemmer, to automate and cut production times.

Before you go, here are the first two instalments of our “Wine Dictionary”:

WINE DICTIONARY: 5 WORDS TO DISCOVER (A-B)WINE DICTIONARY: WHAT IS THE BOUQUET? A BALSAMIC WINE? (B-C)

Differences between DO, DOP and DOCa for wine

By Sin categorizar

When buying a wine, you normally look at many things: type of ageing, winery name, price, origin… And for this last point, do you look for more than it simply being a “Rioja or a Ribera”? Are you aware of what is behind the DO of a wine? On this point, there are many, very important things to learn to fully understand the wine you are buying.

That’s why, in this article, we’re going to explain what DO means in a wine, DOP and what DOCa means (and implies) in a wine. When you finish reading, you’ll surely have learned something new. Here we go!

Qué significa DO y DOP en vino

What do DO and DOP mean in a wine?

When we talk about wines with a DO, we’re referring to wines with a Denominación de Origen seal. They are wines from a specific production region that are made according to a series of parameters that guarantee their quality and ensure they reflect the typical characteristics of that region. Those parameters are dictated by the Regulating Council in each region.

What does a wine have to do to get the DO seal?

– It has to be made in the specific region, county, town or place with grapes grown there.

– It has to enjoy great prestige in commercial traffic based on its origin.

– Its quality and characteristics should be mainly or exclusively due to the geographic setting, which includes both natural and human factors.

– It must have been recognised for at least five years as a VC (quality wine with geographical indication).

DOP is a European-level quality seal, known as PDO in English, that standardises the DO in each country, according to their rules.

For Spain, there are currently 96 Protected Designations of Origin, broken down as follows:

  • 67 DO (Denominación de Origen or Denomination of Origin).
  • 19 Vinos de pago (Estate Wines).
  • 2 DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada or Qualified Denomination of Origin).
  • 8 VC (Vino de Calidad or Quality Wine).

Read to the end of the article to find out about these types of wine! Plus, you can check out this list from the magazine Vinetur for more details.

What does DOCa mean in a wine?

We’re going to look more closely at what DOCa means. This stands for Denominación de Origen Calificada (Qualified Denomination of Origin), reserved for wines that have maintained and met a series of quality requirements for a specific period of time (quite long) after acquiring the DO seal, as well as other parameters we’ll look at now, established by the Regulating Council. In our case, this is the DOCa Rioja Regulatory Board. And Rioja was the first DO to get this recognition, 30 years ago, in April 1991.

In 2000, it was also granted to Priorat, an area wedged between Campo de Tarragona and Tierras del Ebro. These are the only DOCa in Spain.

The official requirements for this seal are:

– To have been recognised for at least ten years as a DO.

– To commercialise all wine bottled at wineries registered and located in the established geographic area.

– To have a control system from production to marketing that covers quality and quantity, including physical/chemical and sensory controls by uniform lots of limited volume.

– This prohibits one winery from having some wines that are DOCa and some that aren’t, except certified estate wines (VP) located within the territory.

– To have a map, by towns, of the land suitable for producing wines with the right to be called DOCa.

All of our wines have the DOCa Rioja seal.
Qué-es-Doca-en-un-vino
Qué es un vino de pago o vino de la tierra

What is a VP (Estate Wine) or VT (Vino de la Tierra)?

As we saw before, there are other categories that fall under the Protected Designations of Origin, including:

  • VC (quality wine with geographical indication): the grapes used for these wines must be grown in the area and the wine must be produced there.
  • VP (Estate Wines): these wines enjoy a certain prestige from a single pago, or estate with a climate or microclimate that differs from the others around it.

Outside of the PDO, we also have IGP (protected geographic indications), which like VT are from a region with unique characteristics but apply less strict requirements, as only 85% of grapes have to be from that region.

We hope you’ve learned something new and that, from now on, you’ll pay much more attention to these seals when you buy wine. Want to learn more interesting facts about the world of wine? Don’t miss this article!

10 interesting wine facts you might not know

5 plans to welcome the spring with wine

By Sin categorizar

Spring has sprung! And that means we have more daylight hours for outdoor plans, warmer days (although we’re not quite past the raining season with some chilly days), little outings, etc. That’s why, to see the spring in fashion, we want to suggest some springtime plans with wine, so that you can start enjoying this wonderful time of year. We have so many great plans and such a great wine selection for all tastes, so pay close attention!

Planes primavera_Picnic.

1. Spring plan: a picnic in the countryside with wine

One excellent plan to see in the spring is to have a picnic in a park or in the countryside, wherever you can! You’ll have a great time no matter where you are, so here you have a few tips to make sure it turns out just right:

1. Get the right selection of food: to set up your springtime plan, whet your guests’ appetite by telling them what you’re going to bring. Pick out things that are easy to eat if you’re going to be sitting on the ground, such as sandwiches, a delicious pasta salad, etc. What else do you think we’d love? Iberian cold cuts! Make sure they’re sliced before you set out to make things easier, or get packs of sliced meat. Our Dehesa Barón de Ley Iberian cold cuts are the perfect option.

2. Pick your wine: once you know what you’re going to eat on your amazing picnic, you’ll need to choose what wine you’re going to take. The formats we like best for a picnic are the smaller versions of our classics: 50 cl or 37.5 cl bottles, which are easy to carry around.

What wine will you choose for your picnic?

3. Cool box: it’s important to take a cool box or a cool bag to keep your food and wine at the right temperature so that they don’t go off with the heat. But… Make sure you don’t chill your wine too much! Do you know the right serving temperature for each type of wine? Click here to find out!

4. Other things to bear in mind with our spring plan: a picnic blanket or a sheet to get comfortable, cutlery, napkins, sunglasses and sunscreen if it’s a particularly sunny day. Enjoy!

2. A springtime lunch on the terrace of your favourite restaurant

If you’d prefer a restaurant over a picnic, here’s another fantastic springtime plan. As long as we stick to the set restrictions, terraces are a perfect place to see in the spring with a glass of wine. Check out what restaurants in your city have a nice terrace or think of a special one that you’ve always wanted to go to. Wait for a sunny spring day, choose some good company and a good wine, and let the fun commence!

Plan primavera_comida en terraza
Planes primavera_aperitivo temático

3. Have drinks and nibbles with a theme in your garden

You don’t need to leave home to have some fantastic nibbles paired with different wines. You could even take it one step further and pick out a theme for your family drinks party. What does that mean? You could select one specific type of food for the nibbles, with different themes:

  • Spring-themed nibbles: to see in the spring in fashion, focus on seasonal produce and fresh food that you fancy on a warm day at midday. A good example would be a cheese board with a seasonal fruit like strawberries and apricots. These nibbles would go perfectly with a white wine such as our El Coto Blanco Verdejo.
  • Themed nibbles from different countries: from a Mexican selection with nachos and guacamole or even Italian nibbles with fresh burrata cheese and mortadella from Sicily. Or go 100% Spanish with a Spanish omelette, croquettes and gildas (skewers with olives, anchovies and pickled peppers).
  • Nibbles themed around the wine region: if you’re a true wine lover, a great option would be to theme the nibbles around the wine (or wines) you’ve chosen. You could do it as a pairing or based on that wine’s D.O. For example: if you’re going to have a couple of different wines from La Rioja with your nibbles, pick out some dishes from the region, such as patatas a la riojana (potato and chorizo stew), alegrías (a local variety of peppers), etc. The best pairing for this would be our Coto de Imaz Reserva or El Coto Crianza Garnacha.

These are just some examples, but the options are limitless if you use your imagination! What would you do? Tell us on social media!

4. An evening of board games with wine

Another great plan for the spring is to get together with the family or with friends (as far as restriction will allow) and to dust off the board games you have lying around – of course, you should also bring out a couple of bottles to help the evening flow. We often think that wine only goes with lunch or dinner, but it’s a great for when you’re just sitting around the table with friends, playing a board game or two, or even watching a film out in the garden.

For a fun evening with a couple of glasses of wine, board games and a little friendly competition, we propose El Coto Semidulce or El Coto Rosado. These are light wines, just perfect for this time of year and that go down perfectly on a leisurely evening.

Planes primavera_Juegos de mesa
Planes primavera_ visita bodegas

5. Visit the wineries in your area (if you can) or discover new wines

Lastly, if you live in wine-producing region, why not head over to a winery if any of them are open? Take a look at what’s available and have an enjoyable day out without leaving your region.

Another option would be to find a wine-tasting shop in your city that you’d like to try out. Plan a day to head over and buy and/or sample a new wine that you’ve never tried before as a way of welcoming in the new season. Do you want to know which wine we found really surprising? Our 875m Chardonnay, from the highest vineyards in the entire D.O.Ca Rioja.

We hope you’ve found some inspiration in our spring plans with wine. If you want another idea, (making sure you stay responsible), you can’t miss this article!

How to host a wine tasting at home with friends
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