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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)
Diferencias denominaciones de origen entre DO, DOP y Doca en vinos

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
spring plans

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

What are wine ratings? What are they based on? Which of them have the most influence?

By Sin categorizar

Have you ever noticed that a wine has been given a specific rating? If you’ve taken a look at our website recently, you must have seen one of them! But do you know what these ratings actually mean? Or who the people and the publications that award them are? We want to give you a brief summary of the wine rating systems, how they work and the ones with the most influence in the world.

Para qué sirven las puntuaciones de un vino

What is the point of wine ratings?

As with any kind of review or appraisal on any product or service you might come across, the main aim is to help consumers when they are deciding whether or not to purchase a particular product.

As you well know, there are reviews and appraisals made by users themselves which, of course, are important in their own right, such as the ones published on Vivino. However, when it comes to wine, we also have experts who assess wines from around the world, much like how restaurants are awarded Michelin stars, giving them a rating in line with certain predefined scales.

These ratings are published in specialist wine guides, magazines and newspapers, and they have a range of different scales. The most widely used one is the American system which rates wines from 50 to 100 points (50 is the lowest rating and 100 is the highest).

Now we’ll take an in-depth look at the different systems, experts and publications!

Robert Parker

Parker was the most famous US-based critic in the world and, as such, we could say he was the most influential. That said, some years ago he sold his publication, Wine Advocate, to a Chinese group when he retired; however, they still stick to his rating system and nomenclature. The wines he rated in his magazine sometimes reach exorbitant prices and his ratings even had the power to change how a wine was produced.

Their ratings are published six times per year, and the rating system is based on a 50-100 scale and forms the basis for many others currently in use. The scale works as such:

  • 96-100 Extraordinary
  • 90-95 Outstanding
  • 80-89 Barely above average to very good
  • 70-79 Average
  • 60-69 Below average
  • 50-59 Unacceptable

Parker didn’t provide rating for Spanish wines, but other members divvied up the countries to do their tastings. The wine taster for the Spanish publication is Miguel Gutiérrez.

Puntuaciones robert parker
puntuaciones james suckling

James Suckling

Suckling is a journalist from Los Angeles who was the editor of Wine Spectator for over 20 years – we’ll come back to that publication later on. He’s had his own website since 2010, which has set the benchmark for wine ratings for many people, even Robert Parker himself.

Suckling claims to have done blind tastings of over 200,000 over the course of his career. His ratings are also based on the American system, but giving them the following weightings:

  • Colour: 15
  • Aroma: 25
  • Structure: 25
  • Overall impression: 35

James Suckling gave our El Coto Crianza 2017 a rating of 92 and described it as “a delicious and fruity red with notes of plum, chocolate and vanilla. With a medium-to-full body and chewy and well-rounded tannins.”

Try El Coto Crianza 2017 for yourself!

Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator is a prestigious American magazine with a history spanning back over 30 years, the most important and influential one in the wine sector. Their scores follow Parker’s system as follows:

  • 95-100 Classic
  • 90-94 Outstanding
  • 85-89 Very good
  • 80-84 Good
  • 75-79 Mediocre
  • 50-74 Not recommended

Wine Spectator gave our Coto de Imaz Reserva 2016 a rating of 91, describing it as “a wine with soft and graceful tannins that contain notes of cherry pie and violets. The dash of clay, aniseed and grassy notes hold out until the end.”

Have you tried it yet?

Quiero probar Coto de Imaz Reserva 2016
Puntuaciones wine spectator
Wine and spirits puntuaciones

Wine & Spirits

Founded back in 1982, Wine & Spirits is published seven times per year and read by over 200,000 people in the wine community in the USA, as well as many other wine lovers around the world.

This guide just gave our El Coto Crianza 2017 a rating of 92, stating that “it’s aroma of fresh aniseed is ideal for a dish of tripe slow-cooked in red wine. It has a hint of weightless richness to it that allows for the peppery and cherry-skin flavours to last through the dark and earthy tannins with slight bitter hints of oak with a fresh finish.”

Decanter Magazine

Now we’ll cross the pond from the States to the UK. Decanter Magazine uses a system that ranges from 12 to 20 points, taking into consideration factors such as the aroma, acidity, astringency, appearance, etc.

What’s more, each year they award a “Best in Show” prize, the highest possible distinction in the Decanter World Wine Awards. The three Co-Chairs taste the wines in the Platinum category and select the “Best in Show”.  Here you can find out about the process behind the awards.

In 2019, Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva 2012 was given a rating of 97 in this prestigious competition.

Take a look here!
Puntuaciones premios decanter
Puntuaciones guia peñin

Decanter Magazine

Last but not least, we have Guía Peñín, “the most complete guide to Spanish wines in the world”, in their own words. They taste over 11,500 wines every year!

Their rating process follows the American rating system, and the taster builds their rating based on all of the visual, aromatic and taste sensations. Their ratings are:

  • 95-100 Extraordinary
  • 90-94 Outstanding
  • 85-89 Very good
  • 80-84 Acceptable
  • 70-79 Unremarkable but not faulty
  • 60-69 Not recommended
  • 50-59 Faulty

We hope you’ve learnt something new. While you’re here, take a look at this unmissable article:

WINE DICTIONARY: WHAT IS A BOUQUET OR A BALSAMIC WINE? (B-C)

[:]

Día Internacional de la Mujer

“The wine world is becoming less masculine and less stereotypical”: an interview with Vanesa García, Head of Quality at the Barón de Ley Group

By Sin categorizar

Even though the wine sector may seem to be a predominantly masculine field, a lot has changed over the last decades, both in the number of women working at all levels in the sector and the rate of wine consumption among women. We spoke with Vanesa García, Head of Quality and Food Safety at the Barón de Ley Group, which holds El Coto de Rioja.

With a degree in Chemistry from the University of La Rioja, Vanesa García is one of the most important women in the Barón de Ley Group. At the age of 43, she’s spent half her life in the group. She has been working for the business for 22 years, specialising in the wine sector.

Vanesa, how did you start out in the Barón de Ley Group?

Well, I started off as an intern! I did my degree in Chemistry and, at first, I was looking to work at a laboratory, but I joined the group in 1999 and I’m still here.

I started out in the oenology laboratory. Over the years, various opportunities to get promoted came up and I didn’t think twice about taking them on. That’s why, after moving through various jobs with different levels of responsibility, growing along the way, I took the job that I’m in now in 2011, as the Head of Quality and Food Safety at the Barón de Ley Group. The winery has always given me the chance to grow.

Were you at all interested in the world of wine beforehand?

As a matter of fact, no. I was very young and it was in the laboratory that I started to get a taste for wine. I’d never really thought about going into the world of oenology. I have to admit that I feel a strong sense of belonging in La Rioja; however, my family has never had much to do with the wine world, apart from drinking it. At home there was always wine in the house.

Your career has developed spectacularly to get you to where you are now. But, in layman’s terms, what is it exactly that you do in your department? What does your work involve?

Basically, what a quality department does is manage and oversee all processes, from the arrival of raw and additional materials to sending out the finished product. We are particularly vigilant when it comes to the bottling process and the materials involved (bottles, corks, labels), because this is the most critical part.

Apart from ensuring that our wines are top-quality, the Quality Department also keeps a close eye on legal compliance and food safety, through an internally recognised and certified management system. Specifically at El Coto, we are subject to “unannounced audits”. This means that, at any time and without any prior warning, an auditor will come along and check our installations and our processes. That’s why what we do on a daily basis is so important.

"I have to admit that I feel a strong sense of belonging in La Rioja".

What do you like most about the sector as a whole and the Barón de Ley Group specifically?

The wine-making process is marvellous and the associated analytical work is hugely interesting. The most rewarding thing about the Barón de Ley Group is its commitment to constantly improving, they’re always ready to invest in new technology and machinery. We have laboratories kitted out with equipment that would be more in place in a university than in a winery. That is what has given me the space to grow and learn so much.

Vanesa, for a long time wine was considered to be exclusively a man’s drink. But in recent decades up until now, this has really changed quite spectacularly. What do you think about women as consumers in the world of wine? Do you think there are still some clichés regarding how women consume wine (as drinkers of rosé, white, sparkling, sweet, etc.)?

Generally speaking, I think there are still some clichés, but I don’t really see it that way among the people I know. You know? The main red-wine drinker in my family is my mother. I think it’s really a matter of taste, not gender.

In my opinion, what does change is wine consumption by age range: the wine you drink at the age of 20 is not the same thing you start drinking as you find your place in the world and discover new products. When you start out, you go for sweeter ones, one’s that are easier to drink, such as semi-sweet or rosé wines.

Mujer mundo vino- Trabajadoras El Coto

“I don’t think there needs to be more women in the world of wine; I think there needs to be more qualified people, and women are definitely qualified.”

And in the professional world? Have you ever felt that people have held any prejudice towards you?

We always create stereotypes and, as a matter of fact, I was more prejudiced than anyone, primarily when I fell pregnant. However, I was certain that having children would be part of my personal growth, and that runs parallel to my professional career. I didn’t want to have to give up either of them. The company has always supported me, and here I am! Of course, in my family plans, I’ve always had unconditional support from my husband, and invaluable help from the children’s grandparents!

In the professional world, I’ve always tried to have an interdisciplinary team that manages to get work done even when I’m away, which has helped me to combine these two aspects of my life. I’ve always made an effort to surround myself with top-level professionals, and now my team is made up of women.

Of course, the world of wine is a traditionally masculine world, but I think things are changing. In my case, it’s really rewarding to see that you have put together a team of women who support you and to come across more and more women working as oenologists. Women have a particularly strong presence in the Quality Department, not just in this winery but in many others and in a wide range of sectors.

I don’t think there needs to be more women in the world of wine; I think there needs to be more qualified people, and women are definitely qualified.

Father’s Day gifts: surprise him with wine!

By Sin categorizar

Father’s Day is fast approaching! It’s never a bad idea to prepare a little gift. And even more this year, as we haven’t had as much enjoyment as we’d like. A year when hugs and kisses have had to be conveyed with our eyes or on screen. And in many cases, this is still the case.

So, we want to help you bring some joy on this special day, with Father’s Day gifts related to wine. Whether you can spend it together or not, we have all sorts of ideas for you to celebrate the best way possible: with a great toast to the best yet to come! 

Happy Father’s Day.

Idea 1: A surprising wine: our 875 m tinto

Our first idea is to give him a wine that will surely surprise him! And our 875m tinto is one of the most special wines: it is made at our Finca Carbonera estate, the highest altitude vineyard in D.O.Ca Rioja.

And being the highest altitude wine in D.O.Ca Rioja isn’t the only thing that sets it apart: the winemaking process is also special. During alcoholic fermentation, the extraction process is gentle, prioritising the delicate aromatic component of this grape variety. After alcoholic fermentation, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in the barrel, striving for perfectly integrated tannins. Finally, it is finished by ageing in new American and French oak barrels for 9 months. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

I’m going to give him 875 m!

Idea 2: A meal in his favourite restaurant (if you can!)

If you’re allowed to go out to eat in your area and feel like spending some time as a family, one of the best Father’s Day gifts can be a good meal at his favourite restaurant, taking all the necessary precautions, of course. You can’t go wrong with a place you know he loves.

Another option would be to surprise him with a restaurant he’s never tried, and have them prepare a good wine pairing to go with this great Father’s Day present. If they can be from D.O.Ca Rioja, and include some of our El Coto wines, even better!

Regalos día del padre con vino
Menú con maridaje día del padre

Idea 3: You cook today! Which wine will you choose?

If you can’t or don’t want to go out, but still want to surprise him, why don’t you be chef for a day! First come up with a menu of dishes you know your dad will love, and don’t be scared to take over the kitchen to surprise him. There no better Father’s Day gift than one made with love!

The next step, after choosing your menu, is to decide which wines to pair it with. Choose at least two or three types, such as El Coto Verdejo, El Coto Crianza or if you want something really special, our Coto Real Reserva.

Plus, our Coto de Imaz Reserva 2015 has just been singled out by the US version of the Robb Report as one of the best D.O.Ca Rioja wines in its price point. And Coto de Imaz Reserva 2016 just got 91 points from Wine Spectator magazine. Have you tried it yet?

Coto de Imaz Reserva is hard to beat

The pairing really depends on your menu choices, so if you want to know how to do it right, don’t miss this article:

WHICH WINE IS BEST FOR EACH FOOD?

Idea 4: If you can’t be together... give him a pack of wines

Even if your dad is far away, or you can’t see each other because of the restrictions in your area, that’s no excuse! One of the best wine gifts for Father’s Day is a pack delivered to him at home by surprise.

That way you can put into action our last plan, each in your own home and following all the rules. Ready for it?

Surprise gift packs for Father’s Day
Packs de vino para regalar día del padre
Regalos día del padre videollamada

Idea 5: Enjoy some wine together on videochat, let’s toast!

As we said, distance isn’t a barrier to feeling close. And this is something we’ve all learned over the past year. Set up a videochat with your dad on his day and open, together but separately, your favourite wine. Spend some time chatting and toast on screen, reliving all those indelible moments that will always be in your memory.

And if you toast with the pack of wines you had delivered to his house, even better!

If you want more ideas about wine, don’t miss this and other articles on our blog.

HOW TO GET RED WINE STAINS OUT

Wine dictionary: What is the bouquet? A balsamic wine? (B-C)

By Sin categorizar

We have the second instalment of our wine dictionary! We’re going to continue with the letter B and start on the C: balsamic, bouquet, carbonic, grape vine and ageing are our words for this second instalment.

We’re sure you’ll learn something new, something interesting, and that, by the end of this post, you’ll be a bit more of a wine expert. You’re going to love it!

Balsamic

Let’s start off our round of definitions with balsamic. When we talk about a balsamic wine, we mean the penetrating aroma and sense of freshness found in some wines. In fact, balsamic notes tend to be found in the tertiary aromas or bouquet, which we’ll look at in more detail below.

These are some of the main balsamic notes you can find in a wine:

  • Resin
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cedar
  • Wood
  • Pine
  • Incense
  • Liquorice

A good example of this is our 875m tinto, a fresh and intense wine, with good acidity and delicate aromas of cherries and red fruit, combined with mocha and cacao and a long balsamic finish.

Try our amazing 875m tinto and tell us what you think!

Bouquet

This French word is used more or less synonymously with nose in English. In the Cambridge English Dictionary it is defined as: “the characteristic smell of a wine or liqueur.” But let’s look a bit further!

What exactly is the bouquet or nose? It is the combination of smells and fragrances resulting from the different stages of the winemaking process: fermentation, vinification and ageing, as well as its time in the bottle. It is the final aroma, the tertiary notes of the wine.

Plus, there are two different types of bouquets:

1.Oxidation bouquet: from the ageing process, which happens in the barrel.

2.Reduction bouquet: from the bottle-ageing process, without oxygen.

If you want to learn more about wine aromas, don’t miss our first dictionary post that explains all about them.

Wine dictionary: part one

Carbonic

We often use the term “carbonic wines” to refer to those made with carbonic maceration, a system typical above all in Rioja Alavesa in which the grapes are fermented whole, with the stems.

Not all carbonic wines or wines with carbon dioxide have been made with this technique. For example, sparking and semi-sparkling wines also have carbonation without using this technique. Plus, newly fermented wines can also have bubbles of carbonation, from the fermentation.

What does carbonation in a wine mean? It helps keep it fresh, boosts primary aromas and makes the sugars seem less sweet.

Grapevine

Grapevines are defined as “a type of climbing plant on which grapes grow”. Vines must be cared for to make sure they have a long, full life, which can be divided into the following periods:

  1. Growth.The first three years of the vine’s life, when winegrowers start caring for it and shaping it. The grapes from the first years aren’t normally used to produce wine.
  2. Development.Over the following years, up to 10 more or less, the grapes improve and become higher quality.
  3. Peak.Grapevines are at their best from 10 to 30 years after they were planted. Over this time, the vine is at its peak and the quality of the grapes only improves as it continues to be cared for and shaped.
  4. Old age.Did you know there are some grapevines that have been around for over 100 years? In this stage, the vines need a lot of care because they can yield exquisite grapes but fewer of them. Caring for old vines is an art form.
pasos_para_decantar

Ageing

The ageing of wines is the time they are stored in barrels, tanks or bottles to continue developing. Wine evolves over time, changing throughout its lifespan.

There are different types of ageing processes:

– Ageing in oak barrels: Rioja wines are aged in 225-litre barrels, racked periodically, and then finished in the bottle. Rioja has the largest inventory of barrels in the world: over 1,300,000.

– Bottle ageing: the time the wine spends ageing in the bottle.

And if we’re talking about the definition of a Crianza or aged wine, it is important to remember that each Regulating Council in our country sets its own parameters. For the Rioja Regulating Council, a Crianza wine is one “in at least its third year that has spent at least one year in oak barrels. For white wines, the minimum barrel-ageing time is 6 months.”

If you’ve already read the first two parts of the wine dictionary and want some more interesting facts, don’t miss this post!

If you’ve already read the first two parts of the wine dictionary and want some more interesting facts, don’t miss this post!

10 INTERESTING WINE FACTS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW

What serving temperature is right for each type of wine?

By Sin categorizar

Many people are unsure of the best temperature to serve and enjoy wine. Should all reds be served at the same temperature? Whites always very cold? Should you put sparkling wines in the freezer?

Well, we’re going to try to answer these questions and explain the right serving temperature for each type of wine. Before we start, though, here are some basic rules of thumb you might not know:

– No, red wine shouldn’t be served at room temperature. Remember, red wines need a specific temperature that is rarely what they are kept at in a home or restaurant. So, our first tip for anyone who drinks wine regularly is to have a temperature-controlled wine cabinet.

– If you drink a white or rosé wine very cold, meaning basically straight out of the freezer at 2-4ºC, you won’t appreciate the aromas or more acidic flavours, which means you won’t get to fully enjoy the wine.

– However, if the wine is very “warm” (meaning over 20ºC), you’ll taste the alcohol much more.

 

Now let’s break it down!

The right temperature for red wine: young, Crianza or Reserva

Did you know that not all red wines should be served at the same temperature? It depends on their ageing. One thing does apply for all of them, though: they shouldn’t be kept in the fridge.

– Young red wines: it’s best to drink a young red quite cool, at 13-14ºC. For example, our 875m tinto is perfect at about 14ºC. How can you get it to this temperature at home before serving? The fastest, most effective way (if you don’t have a wine fridge) is to put the bottle of young red wine into a water and ice bath for about five minutes.

– Crianza red wines: the best temperature for a Crianza wine is 15ºC, like our flagship wine El Coto Crianza. You can use the same method to cool it down if it has been stored in a warmer area. But be careful not to get it too cold.

– Reserva and Gran Reserva red wines: Did you know a Reserva or Gran Reserva served under 16ºC will be much harsher on the palate? Plus, you won’t be able to truly appreciate the bouquet and tertiary aromas. That’s why we recommend serving these wines, such as our Coto de Imaz Reserva or Coto Real Reserva, at no less than 16ºC and no more than 18ºC.

What temperature for white and rosé wines?

Did you know that not all white wines should be served at the same temperature? It’s not only for reds that serving temperature depends on ageing. The same is true for whites, too!

A very young wine like our El Coto Blanco Verdejo is best served at roughly 7ºC. Serving this wine at the right temperature will allow you to enjoy the intense aromas of tropical fruit, fennel and aniseed. It’s perfect for pairing with seafood, fish, rice and pasta dishes.

If you’re having a more aged white, like our Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco, the serving temperature should be more like 12ºC. This wine is different from most whites, as it is aged for 12 months in French-oak barrels. Then it stays in the bottle for at least 12 months, where it takes on its characteristic bouquet. This white, however, is a great pairing for game, red meat and beef. Did you know that?

For rosé wines, the proper serving temperature, like for young whites, is 7-8ºC.

Our white and rosé wines are spectacular!

The right temperature for sparkling and semisweet white wines

Young sparkling wines are best quite cold, served at 6-8ºC. “Vintage” sparkling wines, however, which have been aged longer, are best served at 8-10ºC.

Semisweet white wines, great with starters and appetisers, cheese, fruit and dessert, are best served at the same temperature as a normal white: 7-8ºC.

Try our El Coto Semidulce!

Summing up: the right temperature for each wine

Young red wine: 13-15ºC

Crianza red wine: 15ºC

Reserva and Gran Reserva red wine: 17-18ºC

Young white wine: 7-8ºC

Crianza/Reserva white wine: 12ºC

Rosé wine: 7-8ºC

Young sparkling wine: 6-8ºC

Vintage sparkling wine: 8-10ºC

Semisweet white wine: 7-8ºC

If you’re also wondering how to store wine at home, don’t miss this article answering all your questions, for open or closed bottles.

How to store wine at home

How is rosé wine made? We’ll tell you!

By Sin categorizar

Rosé wine is a fresh, highly drinkable wine that is great for all sorts of occasions (many more than you might imagine!). It’s not only a favourite for summer days, nor a predominately feminine wine, nor a low-quality wine, nor any of the other stereotypes! Rosé wine pairs wonderfully with all sorts of dishes and moments and is spectacular, so if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a chance.

The perfect serving temperature is between 7 and 8 degrees Celsius, or a few degrees cooler if it’s a rosé sparkling wine. It goes great with appetisers, salads and even Asian food. We’ll go into this in more detail at the end of the article.

But let’s get to it! We’re going to see how a rosé wine is made.

Type of grapes used to make rosé wine

Had you heard or thought that rosé wine was just a blend of red wine and white wine? Not at all! In fact, that’s not allowed in the EU.

Rosé wine is made with the same grapes used for red wine, but it isn’t fermented with the skins. For the El Coto Rosado, we use Grenache and Tempranillo grapes. The Grenache grapes used to make this wine come from our estate in Ausejo, Los Almendros, and the Tempranillo grapes come from Rioja Alavesa. With these two grape varieties and the winemaking process, we get a tantalising wine with flavours of fresh strawberries and caramel.

Qué uvas se usan para el vino rosado

Técnicas: diferencias entre sangrado, prensado directo y clarete

– Saignée: This technique probably yields the highest quality wine. The grapes are left to macerate for a short, variable period of time until the must takes on the desired colour. Then the tank is bled, which is where the technique gets its name (saignée means bled in French), and it goes straight into another tank to continue the process just like a white wine. This bleeding process normally makes finer, more complex wines.

– Maceration: With this technique, the grapes are pressed as soon as they reach the winery, after being crushed. The different pressing fractions are separated to settle separately. This process gives the wines more structure.

– Blending: this technique gives us a different type of rosé wine known as “clarete”. It is a coupage of must from white and red grape varieties. For decades, this wine was the most common type in Spain. But that deserves an article of its own! As we were saying, don’t confuse this process with that of blending finished red and white wine, which is prohibited.

How we make El Coto Rosado: sangée + maceration

Our El Coto Rosado wine is made in part by bleeding the free-run must from the grapes in the winery and in part through pellicular maceration and then pressing.

In both cases, the must is clarified before being fermented. The musts are made and fermented in the presence of select yeasts and at very low temperatures to encourage all the aromas of fresh fruit in our wine to develop. It is kept at a low temperature in the winery until it is bottled.

Plus, did you know that the grapes are covered with a curtain of carbonic gas when they get to the winery to protect them from oxidation? The same gas is used to instantly refrigerate the grapes! Isn’t that odd?

¿Te animas a probar nuestro El Coto Rosado?

Cómo maridar un vino rosado

As we said at the beginning, rosé wine is perfect with all sorts of dishes, such as salads, pasta, fish, some types of cheese and cuisines like Asian food. Here are some quick tips:

  • With a salad, always choose a light dressing like olive oil or, if you want something more, yoghurt is a good option. Avoid lemon and vinegar so you won’t taste bitterness.
  • Pair your rosé with white fish like hake, sea bass or cod. It’s also perfect to have with a sushi feast!
  • If you want to have a rosé with your cheese board, go for things like Brie and Camembert, which are the best cheese pairings for this type of wine by far.

Want to know more about how to pair rosé and other types of wine? Don’t miss this article!

WHICH WINE IS BEST FOR EACH FOOD? LET’S REVIEW THE BASICS
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