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Cómo saber si un vino está picado

How to tell if a wine is pricked

By Sin categorizar

We say a wine has oxidised when it is at a very advanced stage of oxidation. It takes on a very particular flavour caused by a chemical mix of alcohol, oxygen and some microorganisms known as acetic acid bacteria that covert ethanol into vinegar. In this article, we’ll explain how to tell if a wine has pricked. 

WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?

This happens when you keep wine in contact with oxygen for too long, exposing it to the effect of acetic acid bacteria. These aerobic bacteria need oxygen in order to survive. We’ll tell you the main reason why wine can be pricked:  

  1. Bad practice during wine-making. Wines that leave the winery oxidised are increasingly less common, specifically thanks to technological developments being implemented in the production process. However, there is always a possibility of it happening.  Excessive contact with oxygen during the fermentation and maceration process, air getting into the barrels or faults in the bottling and sealing process can end up in wines getting pricked. 
  2. Poor handling during commercialisation. During this process, it is very important to control the oxygen levels that the product is exposed to, as well as the wine containers.  

 As such, air getting into the bottles because they move around too much during transportation, exposure to sudden changes in temperature or incorrect storage temperatures, exposing the bottle to light sources or leaving wine bottles open for days can cause a wine to turn vinegary.   

Cómo saber si el vino está picado

BEFORE YOU TASTE IT: TAKE A LOOK AT IT IN THE BOTTLE OR GLASS

How can you tell if a wine is pricked before you taste it? There are some clues that might give away the condition of a wine before you try it. This way, you can avoid drinking a vinegary wine that could ruin your culinary experience. Take a look at what we mean below:   

  • In the bottle: if you can see that some wine is missing with the cork still in it, or if the cork is defective or has too much wine in it, you might have a bottle of wine in poor conditions.   
  • In the glass: when you pour out the wine, a pricked wine will look somewhat cloudy and lacklustre. What’s more, there could even be a slight sheen on the surface of the wine that you can detect as light reflects off of it. 

 If you have a red wine with some orangey tones in it, this might suggest that the wine will have a vinegary flavour that won’t be all too pleasant. If you bring it up to your nose, you might pick up on some chemically aromas like glue, nail polish remover or hairspray.  

 However, you might not notice any important changes until you actually get round to tasting it. This is the definitive test! If you notice a harsh flavour with no trace of fruity or floral aromas, and there’s a slight vinegary flavour in the mix, you’ve definitely got an oxidised wine on your hands.   

vinos crianza en barrica de El Coto de Rioja

CAN YOU PREVENT IT?

Because wine, wood and cork are organic materials, there’s always a slight chance that a culture of acetic acid bacteria could form in a bottle of wine. As such, to avoid a wine oxidising, it is crucial to control its exposure to oxygen.  

If this isn’t done correctly and air gets into the wine at some step along the way in the wine-making process, it’s fairly likely that this could lead to the flavour of the wine becoming drastically different. In the end, the experience of drinking the wine will be mired by the vinegary taste 

All of our wines undergo a very strict quality control process to ensure that the wine-making process and the transportation of our products is just right up until they reach the points of sale. By purchasing products from our online store, you can be sure that our wine will reach you directly from our wineries, with meticulous care in the delivery process. 

If you found this article on how to tell if a wine is oxidised interesting, why not take a look at one of our WineClass episodes to help you learn how to pick out different aromas in wine?   

Learn to identify the aromas in wine
maridar-vino-carne

5 WINES FOR PAIRING WITH MEAT

By Sin categorizar

Every kind of meat has a special flavour, and that’s something you need to remember when picking out a wine to go with it. Red wine doesn’t always need to be your go-to choice, which is why we want to give you 5 recommendations for wines to pair with meat and keep your dinner parties on everybody’s lips.

vino-maridar-carne

WHICH WINES PAIR WELL WITH PORK?

New gastronomic trends are inspiring people to experiment and bend the rules. The myth that pork only goes with red wine is out the door. If you get the right white wine with a good sour hit, you’ll find a perfect pairing for smoked pork dishes or ones with a lot of spices and strong flavours.

Our wine Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco is a great option for pairing with this kind of red meat. Respecting the fruity and floral aromas of the Chardonnay variety, it has a lingering smoothness and aromatic complexity blending honey notes with a delicious vanilla aroma. You just have to try it!

What’s more, if you want to whip up some roast or BBQ pork ribs, an amazing pairing would be a rosé made with Tempranillo grapes. You’ll be blown away, especially if the recipe includes BBQ sauce. Our El Coto Selección Viñedos Rosado is a wine for pairing with pork that we recommend if you’re looking to surprise people with a flavour explosion.

VEAL: BETTER WITH YOUNG REDS!

The type of meat and what you do with it should influence what wine you pick. So, if you’re thinking of cooking up some roast veal or even a stew, the best match for it would be young, smooth red wines. This type of wine would also go perfectly with meat of this kind, either flame grilled, seasoned or barbecued.

Our 875 m Tinto is the pairing you need to create the perfect flavour combination. It’s an intense and refreshing wine made with Tempranillo grapes. It’s a good sour hit and delicate aromas of cherries and red fruit. These flavours also go with mocha and cocoa. Everyone will be asking for more with this pairing.

maridar-vino-con-carne
maridar-vino-con-carne

WINES FOR PAIRING WITH BEEF

When pairing wine and meat, the drink also helps to cleanse our palates after each bit, which means that each bit we take feels like the first. That’s why it’s so important to pick the appropriate wine. The flavour we get from barbecued beef combined with its fat content makes it the perfect pairing for red wines.

Our Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva and Coto Real Reserva are our star recommendations for pairing with beef. Both of these wines are made with Tempranillo grapes. However, the first of the two stands out because it combines it with Graciano grapes and is rich in aromas of red fruit and nuts. A great wine for special occasions.

Visit our store and find your perfect pairing

After the main course comes desert! Do you need some recommendations for pairing with your dessert? Take a look at these tips for pairing wine and sweet treats.

Pairing wines and dessert
vinos-sin-gastar-de-mas

TIPS FOR BUYING A GOOD WINE WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK

By Sin categorizar

Do you think that the best wine is always the most expensive one? How would you describe a good wine? Experts tell us what makes a good wine is its vibrancy and its intense flavour that lingers in the mouth, but these characteristics do not always make them more expensive. If you want to get it right every time, we’ve come up with some tips for buying a good wine without breaking the bank.

comprar-vino

HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD WINE AT THE SUPERMARKET:

Do you often find yourself hurrying into the supermarket to pick up a perfect wine without spending your life savings on a bottle? It’s really quite easy. Firstly, you just need to take a good look at our tips. Remember that bottles with flashy stickers saying that they’ve won prizes have those labels for a reason!

Supermarkets sometimes want to draw attention to an award-winning wine or one with a great score in a wine guide, which could be a quality guarantee. You’ll often see this marketing technique at airport duty-free sections, where they want to draw attention to award-winning wines from the country or region you’re in so that you take one of the best choices back with you, along with the best flavours of the place you’ve visited.

So, if you’re not in a hurry and can take your time picking out a wine at a specialist wine store, you’re at an advantage: you can get professional advice to help you find a top-quality wine at the right price. Buying a wine at a specialist wine store isn’t always more expensive. In general, these businesses have to respect the price suggested by the winery.

If you do decide to buy a wine from a specialist store, be daring and try new flavours. If you’re into red wine, we’re not going to tell you to change your ways, but maybe you could try other wines such as Rioja whites or semi-sweets. Within the same price range, sometimes lighter wines have more surprises in store for you.

Buying wine online

Another option for buying good wine at a decent price is to switch to the wineries’ online stores, or even multi-brand wine stores. This will also have better prices, since they save a lot more costs than physical shops do. What’s more, they often have special discounts if you purchase in bulk, for example if you buy cases of wine, or they will give you free delivery.

If you’re concerned that bottles might be damaged in transit, don’t worry. They’re completely reliable, and will take care of any logistic issue that might occur, even though they’re not particularly common.  

Additionally, buying wine online through the wineries’ own websites has additional advantages: you can always be sure of the origin, traceability and handling of the wines, ensuring that they are always at the right temperature and don’t go off.

Check out our store and pick out the best wine for you
Cómo elegir un buen vino sin gastar mucho dinero

GOOD WINES UNDER €10

Here in Spain, we’re lucky enough to have good wines priced between €6 and €20. In other European countries, the prices may be considerably higher because they have to import the products. However, since we’re close to such a wide range of wineries, we can always find top-quality produce at competitive prices to suit any budget.

While there are products that reach prices of over €100, you can enjoy a superior wine without paying over €30. But, as we said, there are amazing and tasty wines that you can get your hand on for under €10. In fact, we’re not the only ones to say it. A few studies have proved it. Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in England found that there are wines available for under €8 that have the same effect on the palate as other wines that could be up to six times more expensive.

Make yourself the perfect guest by giving the host a good bottle of wine without breaking the bank. You really can find a good wine at a fair prices, with a range of ideas from young wines to aged wines and even reserve wines. Our Coto de Imaz Reserva and our Coto de Imaz Selección Viñedos Reserva made with tempranillo grapes are versatile and easy to pair but, most importantly, they’re delicious and reasonably priced. When it comes to choosing, trust your palate over what people have told you.

If you liked this article, we’ll help you to bolster your wine knowledge, such as this one to clear up your doubts on how to read wine labels.

What to read before buying a wine
celebrar-san-valentin

HOW TO CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME

By Sin categorizar

Celebrating Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be boring. Put on a happy face and enjoy the celebrations with the people you love the most, and with a glass of wine!

In this article, we want to give you some ideas, just in case you don0t know what to do for Valentine’s Day at home without breaking the bank. A special day that you can spend with your partner, your family, with friends or on your own and have and amazing time. Take notes!

Cena de San Valentín

THINGS TO DO AT HOME ON VALENTINE’S DAY: AN UNFORGETTABLE DINNER

Making dinner is always a great plan. If you love cooking, this is the choice for you.

Make a meal to surprise your nearest and dearest, and choose the perfect wine to go with it. That’s where we can help:

  • For finger foods, for example, including cheese: white wines like El Coto Blanco are best with younger cheeses, and aged cheeses pair best with Crianza reds like El Coto Crianza.
  • If you’re going in for seafood, we recommend a barrel-fermented 875 m Chardonnay.
  • For red meat, Coto de Imaz Reserva or Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva would go amazingly, enhancing its flavour.

Even though you could surprise them with a Valentine’s dinner, another idea would be to make cooking the meal together the main event. You can enjoy a nice evening of cooking and wine – it’s always great fun. Bear in mind that the best thing to do is to plan what you’re cooking and have all the ingredients and wine ready.

If you’re going to do it with your other half, this will be a romantic night that you’ll never forget. Pour out a good glass of wine and enjoy the process. A romantic dinner will also help to strengthen the bond you have with the person you love. Raise a glass on Valentine’s Day in the best company!

A HOME WINE TASTING

This idea is definitely a great twist on the classic way of celebrating Valentine’s Day: a wine tasting is a fun option that will breathe some flavour into your special moment.

You could say that this experience will be your “gift” to the other people because you will already know the wines, but we promise you can also learn loads when you start tasting.

What do you need for a home wine tasting?

  • At least 3 different bottles of wine to taste
  • One glass per person.
  • Labels to cover the wine information and not leave anything visible.
  • A mask so the colour of the wine doesn’t give them any clues
  • Some snacks to go with the tasting
  • Plenty of enthusiasm to start tasting!

We promise that this Valentine’s Day won’t be a forgettable one for your friends or that special person if you’re spending it with your partner. Get the ball rolling, don’t let any time go to waste in planning the day. Here’s a series of tips on how to get everything organised.

How to host a wine tasting at home with friends
Cata en casa
Vino y música clásica

CONCERTS FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME

Wine and music make for a pairing that will arouse your senses, and it could be one those special Valentine’s Day plans that will make your evening extra special.

Picking the right music will definitely help you unwind, eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company. If you love wine and your friends or loved ones do too, there’s nothing better than surprising them on the 14th of February with a glass of our El Coto Crianza and a great playlist of hits by your favourite band. If you’re going to spend it alone or with your partner, you could even throw a relaxing bubble bath into the mix.

Do you need a special wine for Valentine’s Day?
Vinos para maridar con pizza

4 WINES FOR PAIRING WITH PIZZA

By Sin categorizar

Are you a gourmet with a bit of a penchant for pizza? We just had to do celebrate World Pizza Day, so today we want to give you some perfect wine recommendations for pairing with pizza. Find out what kind of wine goes with pizza! 

pizza pepperoni con vino

CLASSIC MEAT-FEAST PIZZA: WITH RED WINE!

There’s a knack to picking the right wine to go with a pizza: going for one that will bring out the flavour of the ingredients without masking them with the taste of the wine. That’s why the first thing you need to know before picking the wine is what kind of pizza you want to pair with it and what ingredients it has.  

If the star ingredient of your pizza is beef, chicken or bacon, the best port of call would be a young red wine. These wines are light and easy on the palate, but also very aromatic. Our 875 m Tinto wine, made with tempranillo grapes is a fresh wine with delicate notes of cherries and other fruits, which goes great with red meat and charcuterie.  

Otherwise, if the flavours of your classic pizza include pepperoni or Serrano ham, the best idea would be to go with a Crianza red wine, with stronger aromas and body. El Coto Selección Viñedos Crianza is a well-balanced wine packed with flavour and lingering fruity notes.  

 

PAIRING PIZZA WITH WHITE WINE

We all get hungry when we hear the word pizza. It’s the food of the gods, but also a very simple dish that just gets better if you pair it with a good wine. It just goes to show that pizza is a really versatile dish, and also that wine was made to go with overly fancy or pompous dishes. 

CHEESE-BASED PIZZAS

These pizzas have huge flavour potential, so the wines we recommend for pairing with pizzas of this kind are white wines with a certain vintage. Try it out with our Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco or our 875m Fermentado en Barrica Chardonnay! What’s more, they even go well with wines with a little fizz.

pizza-con-verduras-y-vino

VEGETARIAN PIZZAS

The polar opposite of meaty pizzas. This kind of pizza normally has lighter flavours and is easier on the stomach. The most common ones normally include ingredients such as spinach or mushroom, while others feature courgette or peppers. Pair these pizzas with our El Coto Blanco Verdejo, which has intense aromas of tropical fruits.

Vinos para maridar con pizza

BOOST FLAVOURS WITH A ROSÉ

There’s one pizza that really paved the way for the rest of them, the most traditional of all. Of course, we mean the margarita, which is just a blend of a tomato-based sauce, mozzarella, basic, oregano and olive oil. When it comes to picking out a wine, we need to think of one that can balance out the acidity of the tomato with the cheese and olive oil.  

We recommend pairing this type of pizza with a rosé wine or a cava. El Coto Selección Viñedos Rosado, made with Tempranillo and Grenache, is delicate, fresh and moreish. It’s easy to drink and enjoy. A napolitana pizza would also go great with this wine.  

Napolitana pizzas have a different base, they’re soft and doughy with a thicker crust, and they also feature anchovies and capers as their star ingredients. A rosé without many woody notes would balance out the saltiness of the anchovies. 

   

What do you think of our tips? On our blog there are many more for pairing with your food. Why not take a look at this article on pairing wine and dessert?   

Pairing wine and desserts
Denominación rioja

RIOJA DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN: ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS IN THE WORLD

By Sin categorizar

Rioja is a Spanish Qualified Designation of Origin (DOCa) that marks out the quality of its wines. In today’s article, we want to talk about the designation of origin that covers our wineries. Keep reading to learn something with us and discover our products.

Uvas-viñedo

THE OLDEST DESIGNATION IN SPAIN

The Rioja Designation of Origin was created on the 6th of June 1925. This was thanks to the winegrowers in the Rioja region who want to ensure that their wines were top-quality and exclusive. Further down the line, in 1991, it was the first region to be made a Qualified Designation of Origin. 

Having the latter designation means that we have to comply with a set of stricter requirements in quantitative, qualitative and control terms. The Regulatory Council is in charge of overseeing, auditing and monitoring the wine production process in La Rioja, from the vines to the market. 

Spain is a bountiful land! Wine was already around in La Rioja over two thousand years ago, which we know from the archaeological remains of winepresses and wineries that date back to Roman times. These days, Rioja wines are on sale in 120 countries and El Coto has the leading winery in Spain.

THE THREE ZONES IT COVERS

RIOJA ALTA 

It has three types of soil: lime-rich clay, iron-rich clay and loose clay. It runs from the north-eastern part of La Rioja up to the Iregua river. The area is made up of 76 municipalities with a primarily Atlantic climate. What’s more, it’s known for the quality of its vineyards and the huge amount of options for tourism around them.    

RIOJA ALAVESA 

This covers 11,500 hectares in the south of the Province of Álava. Its soil is lime-rich clay, and the vineyards are grown on terraces and small plots. The cultural and architectural heritage in its mediaeval towns is surrounded by a never-ending sea of vineyards. It is made up of 18 municipalities including Laguardia, Elciego and Oyón. 

RIOJA ORIENTAL OR RIOJA BAJA

Due to the influence of the Mediterranean, this region is warmer and dryer. As such, the soil is mainly loose clay and lime-rich clay. This is the eastern-most part of La Rioja and the south of Navarre. It has a surface area of 18,000 hectares. The northern winds gently rock the vines here, helping them to produce very mature grapes. 

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Vino-viñedo

EL COTO: THE LARGEST WINE PRODUCER IN LA RIOJA

We have 820 hectares of vineyards, split across all of the sub-regions in the Rioja designation, and we now sell our wines in over 70 countries. This started over half a century ago – 1970 specifically – and since then, we’ve stayed true to our wine-making philosophy, which sees the vineyard and the main source of quality. 

That’s precisely why we’ve been trying to have as many vineyards as possible from the outset, in order to ensure the quality of our wines year after year. Our wines have won a space in our customers’ hearts because they’re perfect for everyday consumption and for celebrating special moments. 

Some of our main vineyards are Carbonera, the vineyard with the highest altitude in La Rioja, which makes it ideal for growing white grapes to create wines such as Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco, a white wine that goes great with red meat, and Finca Los Almendros, thought to be the largest vineyard in the Designation, covering 450 hectares. 

Our wineries have the widest range of Rioja wines. We are guided by our philosophy when it comes to red wine, meaning we respect the classic style of barrel ageing, which is what made La Rioja world famous. We know that being one of the leading wine producers in the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin involves commitment and responsibility, two values that we try to uphold every day. 

Learn more about our vineyards!

OUR PRODUCTS WITH THE RIOJA STAMP

The types of wine we produce work perfectly for any occasion: they’re ideal for serving at an important event or for pairing with your favourite meal. Wines such as El Coto Crianza and El Coto de Imaz Reserva go perfectly with beef and lamb. 

The latter is one of our iconic wines, made exclusively with Tempranillo grapes. Before it goes on sale, we age it for 18 months in the barred and at least another 18 months in the bottle to get it just right.

You can take a look at the range of wine we have just for you here.
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Tabla de quesos y encurtidos maridada con un copa de vino tinto El Coto de Rioja

5 WINTER IDEAS TO DO AT HOME

By Sin categorizar

No ideas for what to do on a winter evening? 

The cold and the bad weather, as well as the January slump, often mean we want to stay in. That’s why we want to give you some ideas for some things you can do from the comfort of your own home without breaking the bank, and with a nice glass of wine in hand. Take notes!

Una copa de vino sobre la mesa con un bol de palomitas. Un plan para una tarde de invierno en casa.

FIND A WINE TO GO WITH A FILM

There’s a good reason why this idea is in the number one spot. We want you to enjoy a good film, one we know you’re going to love: A Good Year directed by Ridley Scott. The film is about a successful English trader who goes back to the vineyard where he spent his childhood summers, and it makes us think about what really matters in life. It’s an inspirational romantic comedy about how loving and working the earth and wine help to change the fates of the main characters.

For a moment like this, we recommend a our high-flying 875 M wine, a young wine that’s both fresh and intense, with strong hits of red fruit, cocoa and mocha, which is just perfect for a relaxing and slow-paced evening when you can enjoy every last sip.

AN EVENING OF FRIENDS AND GAMES

If you’re looking for a winter idea for spending time with friends, how about an evening of games and wine? There are thousands upon thousands of thrilling card games and board games for spending a lovely evening in great company. Pick the one you like best and pair it with a smooth and enjoyable wine such as a rosé!

For a moment like this, we recommend our El Coto Rosado. A fresh, refreshing and playful wine. This rosé is made with grenache noir and tempranillo grapes, making it the perfect match for nibbles. What’s more, we’ve also got the new 2021 vintage. So, while you’re having a grand old time with your friends, this wine will definitely be the best thing to go with your evening. We would recommend enjoying this wine at temperatures between 7 and 8 ºC.

Cena romántica en casa con dos copas de vino

PLAN A ROMANTIC DATE

Pump some flavour and colour into your relationship with a romantic date at home and some good wine!

Winter has the perfect temperatures for pampering your other half. Prepare a meal that your partner will love, such as a pork sirloin with a forest fruits sauce. To go with this dish, we recommend our Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva, a mature and elegant wine that goes perfectly with a romantic candle-lit evening. Remember: the right temperature for serving is between 16 and 18 ºC.

What wine would you choose for winter?

A BOOK AND A GLASS OF WINE

If you love reading, here’s an idea that’s just perfect for you: the graphic novel The Initiates by Étienne Davodeau and a bottle of El Coto Semidulce, of which we now have the new 2021 vintage. What’s more, it’s available on our online store again, after being sold out for a few months. Everyone just loves this wine.

The novel is a must for all wine lovers. It will really awaken your passion for the world of vineyards. The main characters are a comic book author who doesn’t know anything about wine, and a vintner who has never read a comic in his life. Both characters come to understand each other in a way that will teach your really interesting things about wine. What’s more, it has a pleasant and leisurely pace, which will really help you relax on your sofa.

 El Coto Semidulce is a white chardonnay that will make the experience all the more enjoyable. Its aromas of pineapple and citrus fruits make it the perfect pairing for nibbles such as cheese and fruits.

Una joven leyendo un libro con una copa de vino en la mano cerca de la chimenea
Una mesa de cocina llena de comida y una copa de vino blanco

COOKING WITH WINE

Wine can also be the star ingredient in one of your favourite dishes. Red wine gives food a special colour, and they’re perfect if you want to make a tomato sauce to go with red meat.

In terms of white wine, it gives the some gastronomic creations a specific sour flare. You can use it to season cream sauces, white meat, fish and seafood.

When it comes to making your choice, you need a good quality wine, but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. 

What’s more, you can enjoy your wine while you cook. Pour yourself a glass of El Coto Crianza while you whip up dinner and pop on some music to go with it! We know you’ll have a great time of it, and you might start loving cookery if it’s not really your thing. 

Enjoy a wine at home while the winter goes by. But that doesn’t mean it has to involve boredom, stress or doldrums.  If you want to learn more about wine, our blog has loads more tips and pairing ideas. Take a look at: 

Guide for pairing wine and cheese
Cómo maridar queso con vino

Easy guide for pairing wine and cheese

By Sin categorizar

What is it about cheese that we just love? If you’re one of those people who can’t resist a good cheese board, this article is for you. You’ll find out the best matches for pairing any kind of wine and cheese. 

Take your wine tasting moment to the next level with our pairing tips. And take notes!

The tradition of wine and cheese

Historically, the pairing of wine and cheese has always gone down well. There are actually many sayings in Spanish that talk about these two products. For example, one goes “con queso, pan y vino, mejor se hace el camino”, which means “with cheese bread and wine, the going will be fine”. 

There’s also another saying that goes “que no te la den con queso”, [don’t let them give it to you with cheese] which means “don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes”. In the olden days, some wine sellers put out low-quality wines and, to cover it up, they served it with plates of cheese, so that the smell and flavour of the cheese would cover up that of the wine, making it appear better quality. Interesting, right?

The fact of the matter is, despite all its fame, the pairing of wine and cheese is truly exquisite, and even more so when you do it right and have top-quality products, such as Rioja wine. In this practical guide, we’ll give you some tips on the best pairings. 

How to pair by type of cheese

In all good pairings, harmony is fundamental. As such, since we’re using two products with intense flavours, the golden rule is to make sure that the strength of the cheese and wine are balanced. How do we do this?

Since there are so many cheeses in the world, the best thing to take into consideration is whether the cheese has been ripened and for how long. This is an easy and practical way to correctly pair any wine and cheese. As such, we can put the cheeses on a scale:

Soft cheeses

Of course, this kind of cheese is one of the easiest to pair with any products, since they are not very intense. 

This product (either goat’s, sheep’s or cow’s milk cheese) is smooth both in terms of flavour and aromas. As such, the best pairing would be a white wine. What is your favourite variety of white grape?

In this respect, we recommend using a fail-safe classic. A wine with moderate acidity and fruity aromas of green apple and pear, such as El Coto Blanco. This is a coupage of Viura, Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc. What do you think?

Since these are delicate flavours, you could also add a bit of jam or quince jelly to give your tasting a few sweet notes. They go great with all soft cheeses!

Learn more about our 7 types of white wine!

Semi-soft and hard cheeses

In general, semi-soft cheeses go well with white wines, just like soft cheeses. However, we could also start playing around with red wines. But, it’s always better to go with young wines in this case. 

When we talk about cheeses with a certain level of ripeness, such as hard cheeses, the best idea is to go for aged wines to match the intense flavour. But watch out! When it comes to goat’s cheese or blue cheese, the best idea is to go for young red wines to balance out the strength of flavour, making sure that the combination of cheese and wine is not too garish. 

In terms of references, El Coto Crianza is one of the sure-fire bets for hard cheeses. It’s a monovarietal wine (Tempranillo) aged for at least 12 months in an American oak barrel and at least 6 months in the bottle. It has a fresh and fruity aroma, with notes of vanilla and scorched oak, with a lingering silkiness in the mouth.

For semi-soft and hard cheeses, we also recommend adding pieces of fruit such as grapes, apples and figs. You’ll love the mix!

Take a look at our varieties of red wines

How to hold a wine and cheese tasting session

Now you know what the best pairings are for each kind of cheese, you must be raring to try them all, right? What about making the most of the moment to hold a real cheese and wine tasting? You could have some friends of relatives over and have a different and really original evening. 

Try and get a mix of around 5 different cheeses with different levels of intensity to play around with the flavour. Follow our instructions and get a few bottles of El Coto de Rioja wine ready to go with the cheese. 

To make this gourmet moment extra special, presentation also plays and important role. So, you should try and balance out the table or the space where you’re going to have the tasting. 

If you don’t want to use a traditional plate, you could arrange the cheeses on a wooden board or a slate. Arrange each cheese into individual portions by variety. Normally, a couple of portions per person is enough. Remember this is a tasting! 

Depending on the size of the board, you could add some jam or quince jelly. Oh! Don’t forget to have some bread on hand to cleanse the palate between different flavours. Go for simple decoration and let your cheeses and wines take centre stage. It’ll go down a treat!

Do you want to learn how to pair wines? Don’t forget to take a look at our compilation of special articles on pairing and you’ll find out about all the best combinations in the world of wine. Here are some suggestions: 

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

By Sin categorizar

Did you know that throughout one year, the grape vines go through different stages of transformation? We’re going to tell you a lot of interesting facts about this fascinating process so that you can learn about each stage that vineyards go through. Let’s get started!

The crop cycle of grape vines

Before we can harvest the grapes to press them for wine, the vines go through a set of continuous changes over the course of the seasons. However, these changes do not fall into four phases, they can be broken down into up to seven different stages. This is what we call the crop cycle of the grape vine.

We’ll tell you what goes on in each of them below.

The stages of the vineyard

As we mentioned, there are seven stages to classify the phases that the grapevine goes through from bud break up until the grape harvest. So, when does it start exactly?

Depending on which hemisphere the vineyard is planted in, the crop cycle will start at a different time of year. For example, the cycle for vineyards planted in Spain start at the beginning of spring and runs well into autumn, when they then lie dormant over the winter.

1. Bleeding

After the vine has laid dormant, the bleeding stage starts. 

It takes this name from the fact that, when temperatures start to rise (over 10 ºC), the vine starts growing again, recovering nutrients and minerals from the soil, and droplets start to appear on the plant. This mainly occurs on the scars left from pruning in the previous cycle. 

2. Bud Break

At the beginning of spring, generally in March, we start to see the first buds appearing along the vine as activity gets back into swing. 

The sap stored up in the plant starts to flow along the vines, and what will go on to become to the characteristic green leaves of the vineyards start to break out.

3. Leaf Flushing and Blooming

In April and May, the leaves start to appear on the vine. This stage is crucial. We’ll tell you why.

In the stage we call ‘leaf flushing’, the particles that make the acids and sugars in the plant are formed. These primarily play a role in the flavour of the variety of grape planted and, in the end, in the flavour of the wine itself. 

Afterwards, between late May and early June, the vines start to bloom. From the buds, we get what we call ‘embryos’, which are small green flower-shaped dots that will later go on to become the bunches of grapes.  

The time of the blooming is what determines when the harvest will start and the volume of grapes we will get in a year. At this time, the winegrowers have to be particularly careful about protecting the vines.

4. Veraison

Over the summer months, the grapes on the vine start to change colour until they reach their final tones. This process is known as ‘veraison’.

All of the varieties start life as green grapes but, depending on the type, they start to change colour and end up being a particular tone. For example, white grape varieties start to turn to yellow shades, while red grape varieties turn pink and then start to darken.

5. Ripening

Toward the end of summer, shifting into autumn, the grapes start to ripen. 

At this time, the fruit becomes sweet thanks to the photosynthesis in the leaves, lowering the level of acidity and increasing the quantity of sugars. The sweetness of the grape will depend on how long it is left to ripen. 

6. Grape Harvest

Once the grapes are perfectly ripe, we then start to harvest them. This is the famous grape harvest. 

In Spain, the harvest takes places between the end of August and the beginning of October. That said, we should mention that not all grape varieties are harvested at the same time; we do it progressively. Do you want to learn about the entire harvest process? Take a look at our special content. Click here!

7. Winter Dormancy

Even though the harvest is the end of the annual cycle of the grape vine, the last stage of the crop cycle is actually its winter dormancy. 

As temperatures really start to drop, and we start to feel the winter col, the vine starts to create a reserve supply of nutrients and minerals for the next cycle in the trunk and branches. It’s incredible! This is when the leaves start to fall, the plant lies dormant, and we prune the vines.

What do you think? Don’t forget to take a look at some more interesting information about the wine world! Here’s a suggestion: 

Sabor umami

How to find umami in wine?

By Sin categorizar

It was one of the last flavours to be discovered. Have you ever heard of it? The last WineClass is on umami. Learn what’s behind this flavour and get some key tips for perceiving it when you taste a wine.

Let’s go!

After nine fascinating episodes of WineClass, we’re ending this set of mini lessons with the last flavour to be discovered in the world of wine: umami. Have you ever heard of this flavour?

Let’s look into the enigma of the fifth flavour! Hit play and enjoy the last episode of WineClass.

Cómo iniciarse en tintos

What is umami and what does it mean?

To understand what umami is, we firstly need to know where it comes from. Do you know where this term comes from? It’s Japanese.

Umami means “pleasant flavour”, and the word is made up of two concepts: umai, which means “delicious”, and mi, which is Japanese for “flavour”.

How was umami discovered?

Until some time ago, there were only four recognised basic flavours in the world: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 21st century (1908) when a Japanese scientist called Kikunae Ikeda discovered what we now know as the “fifth flavour”.

Ikeda worked out that a specific amino acid, monosodium glutamate, produced a flavour sensation that couldn’t be pigeon-holed into one of the other four flavours. That’s why he decided to give this sensation its own name: umami.

But how can we detect this new flavour? And what about in wine? Let’s look at some of its features.

How to distinguish umami

Even if the way to understand and detect this flavour is somewhat abstract, these are some of its specific features.

Umami is that feeling that brings together sweet and salty notes and leaves a lingering tasty flavour in the whole mouth. In fact, strangely enough, umami is not really a flavour, but rather a flavour enhancer. That’s why it’s so difficult to describe.

To work out if your wine is umami or if you’re eating an umami-rich food, you need to turn to your taste buds. There are also specific receptors for this flavour!

What part of the tongue do you think umami stimulates? Right in the centre.

Umami-rich foods

The classic foods in this group are ones with a great aftertaste, rich in monosodium glutamate. For example, the most characteristic one (which is also emblematic of East Asian cuisine, is soy sauce.

If you want to train your palate, the trick we would suggest is dripping a few drops of soy sauce onto the centre of your tongue. It’s that simple! You’ll easily be able to sense the intense taste as it spreads across your mouth.

Some other umami-rich foods in Spanish cuisine are: tomatoes, asparagus, meat, anchovies and even Iberian ham! Parmesan cheese is also rich in umami.

Maridaje vino tinto
Vino Reserva Coto de Imaz

Umami in wine

The term umami is coming up more often in the world of wines, and it’s not unusual to see it in the tasting notes of some products. But can wines actually be umami? Yes, they can. We’ll tell you which ones.

In general terms, wines with a greater amount of the fifth flavour are ones that have been aged for longer. As such, we can find umami in red and white wines and rosés, as long as they have been aged for long enough.

Remember, when we talk about ageing, we could mean barrel ageing or lees ageing.

Some of the best examples of this are El Coto Crianza for barrel ageing, and Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco for lees ageing. Have you tried them yet? You can find them on our El Coto de Rioja online store right below.

Discover the umami flavour of a Rioja wine

Is WineClass over? Never! You can watch the episodes of WineClass as much as you want on the El Coto de Rioja YouTube channel. All of the episodes are there in full.

If you don’t want to miss any of our videos, don’t think twice about subscribing to our channel to keep up to date with all the news from El Coto de Rioja.

Meanwhile, have fun and keep learning about the world of wine with the contents on our blog. Like this one:

Simple tips for ordering wine at a restaurant or bar
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