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Cómo maridar vino y chocolate

Easy tricks for pairing wine and chocolate

By Sin categorizar

The elegance and complexity of wine melds with the bitter touch of delicious chocolate. Be surprised by one of the world’s most famous, popular pairings: wine and chocolate. Never tried it? Come along with us and discover the best combinations for pairing these two incredible products. 

Maridar vino tinto y chocolate

Can you pair wine and chocolate?

The answer is a resounding yes. Although it’s also true that it isn’t always easy. When pairing wine and chocolate, you have to consider the characteristics of each product so that, when you put them together, they complement each other instead of cancelling each other out. So, you don’t want to pair just any wine with whichever chocolate you have to hand.  

To know how to pair wine and chocolate, you have to understand something that makes the latter special. Cacao gives chocolate its characteristically bitter flavour we enjoy so much. And it is that bitterness that clashes with wine, because of its famous tannins. 

The more cacao it has (or the purer the chocolate) the harder it is to pair it with wine, as it increases the astringency and feeling of dryness in the mouth. The result can be too aggressive for some palates. So, it’s easier to pair with chocolate that has a bit of milk than with the darker ones.  

3 rules for pairing wine and chocolate

Whether in a bar, ice cream or cake, remember these 3 rules when choosing the perfect wine to pair with chocolate or vice versa. 

  1. The chocolate should always be as sweet or a bit sweeter than the wine you’re going to be drinking.  
  2. The more intense the chocolate, the fuller bodied the wine should be. 
  3. It’s best to choose wines with mid-to-low acidity to compensate for the acidity in the cacao. Tip: avoid sparkling wines like champagne, for example. 
Take a look at our online store
Reglas para maridar con chocolate
Vinos para maridar con chocolate

Tips for pairing with chocolate

And, after that bit of theory, let’s look at some practical cases for each type of chocolate. Which will you opt for? 

Wines for dark chocolate

Here we apply rule number 2. To pair wine and dark, pure chocolate, it’s best to go for a full-bodied wine, like a red, to strike the right balance between the flavours.   

Will any red wine do? Truth is, the best options are those with Tempranillo, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you want our personal recommendation, a glass of El Coto Real Reserva red never disappoints. It’s silky, slow on the palate, with mocha and coffee notes that are an amazing pairing for chocolate. 

Wines for milk chocolate

As it has less cacao, with milk chocolate we can go for lighter, softer wines. So, young or Crianza wines (depending on how much milk the chocolate has) and fruity wines, in general, are a great option.  

Remember, if the wine is too strong, it will mask the flavour and nuances of the chocolate instead of enhancing them. From our stocks, we’d recommend 875m red or El Coto Crianza Garnacha. The latter has lovely aromas of cherries and red fruit, plus notes of mocha and cacao. 

Wines for white chocolate

White chocolate is special because, unlike the other types, it is much sweeter and creamier. And this is exactly what we want to highlight with the wine pairing. So, in these cases, it’s best to pair with white wines.  

And, as we had preferences among red grapes, we also have some among white varieties. So, the best option for pairing wine and white chocolate is unquestionably Chardonnay.  

Our favourite Rioja wines in this group are the 875 m Chardonnay or El Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco. Their butteriness and vanilla aromas will make you love white chocolate even more. 

And that’s it! Did you get it all? We hope your culinary combinations are a great success. And if you still want to learn more about foolproof pairings and find out how to make the best wines part of your dishes, don’t miss these posts on our blog.  

How to pair rosé wines How to choose a good wine to pair with fish and seafood
Cómo empezar con vino tinto

Simple tips for getting into red wine

By Sin categorizar

Interested in the world of wine but don’t know where to start? Have you ventured into whites but don’t dare drink reds? These tips will help you discover how to get into drinking red wine. A fun, easy way to educate your palate. A sure success! 

Vinos tintos para principiantes

3 keys for getting started with wine

Although there aren’t really any wines for beginners, we can voice a few unwritten rules for those without any experience with this alcoholic beverage to make your initiation very gradual and pleasant.  

Which wine to choose

It’s very common that people unaccustomed to drinking wine don’t know the characteristics of each type and, therefore, don’t know where to start. So, it’s best to get advice from expert sources, like this blog, and to do a bit of research on the specifics of each wine or grape variety. This will give you a general idea of the range of possibilities out there.  

Start with light, sweet wines

In general, it’s best to start drinking lighter, fresher, softer wines. Astringency or complexity in a wine can be too much for first-timers. So, it’s best to go for “easy drinkers”, like whites and rosés.  

Ones with sweet, fruity notes (like the El Coto Blanco or El Coto Semidulce), with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, tend to be a sure thing. 

Don’t only look at the price

When choosing a good wine, price isn’t the only factor to consider. There are other ways to judge wine quality beyond just the price tag. Our tip is to always opt for ones with quality seals, like the DOs

All of our wines have the DOCa Rioja seal

Tips for drinking red wine

Starting to drink red wine isn’t always so easy, especially if you’re not used to their characteristic bitterness and astringency. However, there is also a range of reds and you can choose one that isn’t as ‘aggressive’ so you can discover all its potential gradually. This is what you need to know to get into reds: 

Pay attention to the ageing

The age of the wine (whether red or white) has a direct impact on its flavour. And, since the goal is to go from less to more complex or intense, the most feasible is to start with young or Crianza wines. Why? Simply because they are lighter wines, fresher and less full-bodied, so they’re easier to drink if you’re inexperienced. Careful! Don’t confuse age with quality. These two things aren’t mutually exclusive.  

Choose the right variety of red grapes

Like we mentioned some white varieties, there are grapes that are better when starting to drink red wine. For example, of all the red varieties, we recommend Tempranillo grapes. This variety is used to make light, low-acidity, hugely aromatic wines like the El Coto Crianza. So you will also find them fascinating on the nose. Whenever you can, go for the fruitier choices. 

Looking for a Tempranillo? Check out all our options!
Cómo iniciarse en tintos
Cómo maridar vino tinto

Enjoy your glass of wine with a meal

Just drinking a whole glass of red wine can often be a bit much. So, one of the best options for making the experience more pleasant, and even enhancing it, is to pair the wine with food. Because, with the right dish, drinking wine is simpler and more enjoyable.  

Since you’ll be starting off with a fruity red, you can pair it with some snacks like mild cheese. If you want to have it with a meal, try pasta or white meat. 

Pay attention to temperature

Don’t trust everything you hear. All wines aren’t served at the same temperature and not all reds should be had at room temperature. Forget those urban legends! To know the right temperature for a red, white or rosé wine, pay attention to its ageing 

This step is important to ensure you don’t miss out on the nuances of the wine. And we mean both the aromas and the taste of the wine itself. Want to know the right temperature for each wine? Keep our post on this topic to hand. Click here to read it now.  

What serving temperature for my wine?

Dare to drink red wine and fall in love with all its nuances. If you want to learn more about wine, don’t miss our El Coto de Rioja blog, with tricks and techniques to enjoy your new favourite beverage.  

Simple tips for ordering wine at a restaurant or bar

And, if you want to buy a red wine, check out our online shop. You can find your perfect wine using our variety and pairing filters. You’re sure to find the perfect fit! 

Get started with El Coto red wines
Diccionario del vino El Coto

Wine Dictionary: the traits of Verdejo wines and what decanting means

By Sin categorizar

They said that “you can never know too much.” That’s probably why we love every entry in our Wine Dictionary. We’re back with more wine-based vocabulary! 

Today, we’re going to learn what decanting wine means and how to do it, what it means if a wine is varietal, what the grape harvest involves and what Verdejo and Viura wines are.  

The latest entry in your Wine Dictionary. Let’s get started! 

Barricas El Coto de Rioja

Decanting

In the world of wine, decanting means to move wine from one container into another, typically in order to separate out the natural sediment that settles on the bottom of the barrel.  

During the fermentation process, wine separates out and the lees fall away to the bottom. Decanting is done for two reasons: to oxygenate the wine and to clean it and balance it after getting rid of these sediments.  

It is important to decant a wine with the utmost precision, since we need to adjust the amount of oxygen need to oxygenate but not oxidise the product. To do this, we use wine pumps, deposits that control the oxygenation and reduce the loss of aromas in the wine in the process.  

Wine decanting normally takes place in spring. When the wine goes to the deposits, the barrels in which it is stored are cleaned with steam and pressurised hot water. In this way, we clear out the pores in the wood so that the micro-oxygenation process can take place properly in the wine. Once this is done, the wine (without the sediments) goes back into each barrel.  

Are all kinds of wines decanted? We decant both red wines and white wines. However, depending on the type of wine (such as longer or shorter ageing processes), decanting will have different features. 

Take a look at our Rioja wine online store!

Varietal

Have you ever heard someone refer to a wine as “varietal”? Even though this expression is quite technical and more commonly used among wine experts and sommeliers, its meaning is no mystery. That’s why our Wine Dictionary is here! 

A varietal wine is one that has been made with just one variety of grape. Simple, right? In a different post, we referred to the famous coupages, ones that, unlike varietal wines, are made from a blend of different types of grape.  

But we should mention that there’s a difference between varietal and monovarietal wines. It’s not the same thing!  

For a wine to be listed as varietal, it needs to have at least 80% of one type of grape. This percentage can change depending on the Denomination of Origin of the wine. Monovarietal wines are the purest and most faithful to their grape variety, because they are made 100% of the variety in question 

In this respect, a monovarietal wine could be deemed a varietal (since it contains over 80% of one variety of grape), but a varietal wine cannot be monovarietal (e.g., this would be the case for a wine that was 80% Tempranillo and 20% Graciano).

Vino contra la depresion
Vendimia,

Grape Harvest

The grape harvest is one of the most eagerly awaited moments of the year. Specifically, this is the time when we pick the grapes to eventually turn them into wine 

The DOCa Rioja Regulatory Board draws up a guide to give winegrowers recommendations for when to start this process on their crops. In Spain, the grape harvest normally takes place between late August and early October 

Here at El Coto de Rioja, the harvest is a very special time. After months of hard work, our picking teams and expert professionals get to work in this marvellous process for turning grapes into wine. Would you like to learn more about the harvest and how to pick the grapes on our vineyards of over 700 hectares? Click the button below:  

Fun facts about grape harvesting!

Verdejo

When we talk about Verdejo, we’re talking about a variety of white grapes. They are commonly grown in central northern Spain (within D.O. Rueda), although it also appears in other areas, such as La Rioja. 

This type of grape has intense fruity aromas (apple and citrus) and herbaceous notes. Verdejo grapes are actually perfect for monovarietal wines or for mixing with others, such as Viura (which we will look at below in this Wine Dictionary post) or Sauvignon Blanc. 

Our best example of this is, of course, our El Coto Verdejo, grown at Finca Carbonera, this highest vineyards in all of D.O.Ca Rioja.  

Are you looking for a good white wine? Take a look at these!
Vino Verdejo El Coto
Vino blanco El Coto Blanco

Viura

Viura is another popular variety of white grapes. It’s actually one of the most commonly used ones in La Rioja, even though it’s originally from Catalonia.  

What’s special about this grape? The most important thing is, without a shadow of a doubt, its versatility for creating coupages with other varieties because it has a medium acidity level. Its aroma is reminiscent of green apples or juicy pears. With Viura and other grape varieties, we create exceptional white wines such as El Coto Semidulce or El Coto Blanco. That latter is also made with Verdejo grapes. 

Do you want to learn more? Learn about all the varieties of white grapes that go into our El Coto wines in the article below.  

How many varieties of white grapes do you know of?

If you want to keep on learning more terminology from the world of wine, don’t forget to take a look at the other posts in our Wine Dictionary.  

What is a Reserva wine and what do sulphites and tannins do in a wine? (R-S-T) Learn about the power of aftertaste and how to spot an oxidised wine (O-P-R)
Cómo pedir vino en restaurantes

Simple tips for ordering wine at a restaurant or bar

By Sin categorizar, Sin categorizar

Have you ever been to a restaurant and not known what wine to choose? Don’t worry! We’ve made a list of the key tips for success so that you’ll know exactly which wine to choose when you’re dining out and get it right every time. Don’t forget to take a look at our list of the top tips for ordering wine at a restaurant or bar!

Cómo pedir vino en un bar

Bear in mind what you're going to eat

If you’re sure what you’re going to have for dinner or lunch, it’ll be much easier to pick out a good wine. Even though we love to try new things, there are some basic fail-safe rules for pairing wine with food. Consider whether you’re having fish (oily or white), meat (red or poultry), pasta, vegetables and even sauces.

If everyone at the table is going to eat the same thing, for example a paella or a juicy roast, you could consider ordering a bottle of wine. Remember that each bottle of wine (red or white) contains 75 cl and can fill roughly 5 to 6 glasses. This is the most interesting option since it is easier and more affordable.

If you’re not all on the same page, you could always reserve a wine for pairing with desserts. This option is just as delicious and could go with a wide range of dishes: fruit, cake, chocolate coulants, a cheese board or even ice cream.

Which wine is best for each kind of food? Let’s go over the basic rules

Don’t be scared of the wine list

More often than not, the overwhelming part of ordering wine at a restaurant is the huge wine list they have. It’s nothing to worry about! It’s perfectly normal not to know all of the varieties and classes of wine they have, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be discerning when ordering.

Wine lists normally are split into reds, whites, rosés, etc. This is the easy part if we know which kind we want. Now, within each type, even if you don’t know the winery or the vintage, the best thing to do is to look at the grape variety: Chardonnay, Viura, Verdejo, Tempranillo, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc… That can tell you certain things about the wine you want to choose, such as how tart or fruity it is.

This bit is important! Don’t just look at the price. A common mistake is to go straight to the more expensive wines so as to make a “good impression”. A very expensive or exclusive wine is not always the best choice for lunch or dinner. Of course, the more expensive ones are in a higher class, but that doesn’t always play a determining rule for getting the right wine.

The last tip when it comes to ordering wine at a restaurant is always to look at quality seals, such as the Designation of Origin.

All of our wines have the DOCa Rioja seal. Find out more about them!
Cómo elegir vino en un restaurante
Probar el vino en restaurantes

You always have to try the wine

If you’ve chosen a particular wine, bear in mind that you always have to try it before it is served to the other guests. We do this mainly to check that the wine is in good conditions (which it usually is).

Tasting the wine in the restaurant doesn’t mean that someone is being showy. It’s also easier than it looks, so don’t worry about it. It’s as easy as checking that both the aromas of the wine and the mouth notes are to our liking.

Firstly, the sommelier will show you the bottle that you have chosen to check that it is the correct one. After opening it, they will pour a small amount into your glass. At this point, we would recommend gently swirling the wine in the glass. This is a good way to aerate the contents and release the aromas. Tip: you can balance the glass to swirl the wine if that’s more comfortable for you.

Remember, you should smell the wine before tasting it, since the stage of smelling also provides us with lots of information. In fact, it is one of the key factors for picking up on any issues with the wine and changing the bottle if necessary.

Lastly, taste the wine. This is not just about drinking it. The important thing is to hold the sip in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it. That way you can appreciate all the notes and the level of astringency. Try to take a moderately sized sip; don’t fill your mouth but also don’t take such a small sip that you need to take another one. If everything is fine, you can tell the sommelier that you approve so that they can serve it.

If in doubt, ask for recommendations

If you’re still in doubt or don’t know which wine to choose, it’s a good idea to ask the sommelier, who will be very knowledgeable and experienced. This is a great resource when you don’t know which wine to order at a restaurant or you’ve only narrowed it down to a few options.

Remember that, among their other roles, sommeliers are there to help customers out. Don’t hesitate to tell them in detail about what you’re going to eat and the general preferences of the people at the table, for example if you’d prefer a dry or fruity wine, etc. They’ll be sure to give you a great recommendation! This could even be the time to leave your comfort zone and try some different wines.

El Coto de Rioja at your favourite restaurant

If there’s something that stands out about El Coto de Rioja, it’s our close relationship with our customers. We’re very accessible, which means our wines are in many restaurants and bars across Spain. In fact, we’ve already made complete lists of some of the best places to sample our wines in both Madrid and Barcelona. Have you taken a look at them yet?

Which El Coto de Rioja wines should you order at a restaurant?

We love how much culinary variety there is in our country, which is why you can find different wines from our winery at restaurants. You can always find the perfect bottle of El Coto for your meal!

Some of our most popular wines are:

  • El Coto Crianza: perfect for pairing with meat, fish, cheese and cured Ibérico meats.
  • Coto Mayor: only available in bars and restaurants. It is available in white, rosé, Crianza and Reserva.
  • Coto de Imaz Reserva: amazing with red meat, game and veal.
  • El Coto Verdejo: a refreshing wine that goes great with seafood, rice dishes and even pasta.
  • 875m Chardonnay: a really smooth wine. Perfect for seafood stews, rice stews, oily fish and seafood.
  • El Coto Semidulce: made with Viura and Chardonnay grapes and excellent for starters, aperitifs, cheeses, fruit and dessert.
Do you want to take one of our El Coto de Rioja wines home with you? Take a look at our online store
Coto de Rioja restaurantes

Don’t worry about ordering wine at a restaurant or bar! Use these simple tips and enjoy the lunch or dinner you deserve when dining out. Do you want more tips and ideas? Don’t forget to take a look at our articles on the El Coto de Rioja blog. You could start out with these ones:

How to host a wine tasting at home with friendsTips for buying wine online, and getting it right!
Diccionario del vino El Coto

Wine dictionary: What is a Reserva wine and what do sulphites and tannins do in a wine (R-S-T)

By Sin categorizar

Your favourite wine vocabulary guide is back again. What five new terms will we learn this time round? Some of them are commonplace, others not quite so much, but all of them are equally intriguing and fascinating.

This time round, we’ll be looking into the features of a Reserva wine, how to tell if a wine is dry using three different techniques, what role sulphites play, what tannins do and what we mean by Tempranillo. Don’t miss it!

It’s time to look at letters R, S and T. Start taking notes!

Vino Reserva Coto de Imaz

Reserva

In earlier Wine Dictionary posts, we spoke about different types of wine depending on their ageing: young wine, Crianza, Gran Reserva, etc. However, there’s one term left to define: Reserva wines.

What is a Reserva wine? It’s really quite simple. According to the Rioja Regulatory Board, for a wine to be classed as a Reserva wine, it needs to meet the following requirement: it must have been aged in oak barrel and bottle for 3 years. Of these three years, one of them must have been in the barrel, with an additional 6 months of ageing in the bottle.

For white and rosé Reserva wines, the ageing period is 2 years (24 months) with a minimum of 6 months in the barrel. Did you know our Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco spends 12 months in an uncharred French oak barrel? That’s how we keep its fruity and complex aroma.

Find all the El Coto de Rioja wines on our online store

Dry

We often mistakenly associate this term with the feeling of dryness or harshness that a wine leaves in the mouth and on the tongue. Our Wine Dictionary is here to set the record straight!

Actually, when we say that a wine is dry, we mean to the lack of sweetness or, in other words, the low level of residual sugar that it contains. But how do we know this? Using the number of grams per litre expressed in fructose or glucose.

There are 4 types of wine depending on the level of residual sugar in them:

  • Dry: when the wine contains under 4 g/l of sugar
  • Demi-Sec: if the residual level of sugar is between 4 and 12 g/l
  • Semi-sweet: when the level of sugar is between 12 and 45 g/l. As is the case with our Coto Semidulce.
  • Sweet: when there is over 45 g/l of residual sugar. These are normally known as dessert wines.

Dry wines can be made with a range of grapes. As such, it’s not uncommon to find dry reds, whites or rosés, and, compared to sweet wines, they have distinct sharp notes and a higher level of alcohol.

How to tell a dry wine from a sweet wine

Even if we’re sure about the theory, how can we tell a dry wine from a sweet one without checking the sugar content? We’ll tell you three ways of working it out.

  • By taste: it may seem obvious, but taste is the best thing to rely on when trying to tell if a wine is sweet or dry. But just drinking it is not enough. The secret is in letting the mouthful rest on the tongue for a few seconds and then swallow it. If the notes of the wine linger, it’s a sweet wine. However, if they disappear quickly, it’s a dry wine.
  • By its aroma: it’s crucial to smell a wine before you taste it since our sense of smell can give us useful clues. As a rule of thumb, dry wines give of grassy and fresher aromas, while sweet wines have fruity or floral ones. However, don’t let yourself be fooled: you could also find a dry wine with fruity notes too.
  • By density: due to the higher concentration of sugar, sweet wines have a thicker and denser consistency, while dry wines are lighter.

Bring these three tips together so that you don’t miss a trick on your wine tastings.

Vinos secos y vinos dulces
Qué son los sulfitos del vino

Sulphites

Also known as sulphurous anhydride. This is a chemical compound, sulphur dioxide (SO₂), which is generated naturally when fermenting wine.

Sulphites in wine play different roles, including as preservatives, antioxidants and antimicrobial agents. As such, they play a role in ensuring that the aromas, colour and even flavour of the wine are not affected and help it to last over time.

Even though sulphurous anhydride is generated naturally in wine, a greater quantity is added later to boost its preservative properties in the wine, prevent bacteria from growing and ensure quality.

How sulphites affect health?

In line with EU wine labelling regulation, the presence of sulphites should always be listed on the bottle. This is mainly to inform people who are allergic or sensitive to this compound. To see if this is the case, you just need to look for the “contains sulphites” message on the bottle. This is also stated on online wine stores!

If you have any kind of allergy, a good alternative is to go in for natural winemaking, since it is focussed on creating sulphite-free wines. What’s more, not all wines have the same number of sulphites. White wines and rosé wines have the highest level of sulphites. When it comes to red wines, the sweeter they are, the more sulphites they will have.

It should be pointed out that the number of sulphites in a wine is not at all bad for your health, since there are always very low levels in line with the regulations. Did you know that sulphites don’t just occur in wine? We can also find them in any food that goes through a fermentation process. This happens with bread, yoghurt, cider, preserved food, vinegar, beer, etc.

Tannins

Do you remember when we discussed the feeling of astringency and dryness on the tongue? This is caused by tannins.

This is a naturally occurring substance in a bunch of grapes. Specifically, tannins can be found in the skin, pomace and pips, but they can also be found in wine barrels.

What role do tannins play? They add notes of bitterness, roughness and complexity to the wine. They can be easily recognised in the mouth by the dry feeling they leave on the tongue and gums. The greater the concentration of tannins, the greater the bitterness, dryness or astringency. As such, this shouldn’t be seen as an issue, since this is a crucial component for ageing wine for longer and making it develop. Did you know that this substance can also affect the colouring of the wine?

Much like sulphites, tannins can also be found in other commonplace foods and drinks. Specifically those that, if you think about it, generate a feeling of roughness in the mouth such as tea or coffee. Another fun fact: tannins also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Qué son los taninos del vino
Vino Tempranillo El Coto Selección Viñedos Rosado

Tempranillo

This is one of the most common variety of grapes to be found in Spain. Its name in Spanish relates to how it is harvested: Tempranillo comes from the word ‘temprano’ (early) in reference to the fact that the grapes are harvested at an earlier date than usual. This is because they ripen faster than all other varieties.

This grape comes from La Rioja and is perfect for making red wines and rosés. Wines from this grape have a notably ruby red colour and a generally low level of acidity. This variety produces Tempranillo wines with a low level of tannins, making them light, smooth and really aromatic.

The Tempranillo grape is also perfect for doing what we call coupages or assemblages (terms that we went over in earlier posts in our Wine Dictionary). The best example we have of this is our El Coto Rosado Selección Viñedos. This wine brings together the Tempranillo and Grenache grape varieties to create a delicate, fresh and intense wine that is easy on the tongue. Have you tried it yet?

Are you looking for a good Tempranillo? Take a look at our range!

Learn all the terms in our wine vocabulary and uncover all the secrets of your favourite drink. If this post has left you wanting more, don’t forget to take a look at the content on the El Coto de Rioja blog. Here’s a special selection from other entries in our Wine Dictionary:

Wine dictionary: Learn about the power of aftertaste and how to spot an oxidised wine (O-P-R)Wine dictionary: Learn what a ‘young wine’ and the ‘magnum’ category mean (J-L-M)
Diccionario del vino El Coto

Wine dictionary: learn about the power of aftertaste and how to spot an oxidised wine

By Sin categorizar, Sin categorizar

We’re back with our monthly run-down of 5 essential terms in wine vocabulary. What surprises does this edition of the Wine Dictionary have in store for us?

Take a look at what wine oxidation means, how to spot a pricked wine, the properties that stalks have, what aftertaste means and how to use the term round at a wine tasting.

Let’s go through the next entries in the dictionary!

Oxidación del vino

OXIDATION

In this article we’re starting off with the term ‘oxidation’. Do you know what it means? Put simply, oxidation just means the process in which oxygen comes into contact with a wine and gets dissolved in it. This sets of a string of reactions with other substances in the wine, such as polyphenols, iron and copper, among others.

In general, oxidation is not exactly desirable, but sometimes it forms part of another process in winemaking and can even be beneficial

There are two types of oxidation:

  • Enzymatic or biological oxidation: this is particularly quick and affects both the wort and the grapes when they arrive at the winery. This takes place just before wine fermentation.
  • Non-enzymatic or chemical oxidation: this is a slower oxidation process that happens as the wine is ageing after it has fermented. This transformation can give wine a certain stability and even improve some of its characteristics.

How to tell if a wine is oxidised?

Wine oxidation is measured in millivolts (mV). When this is at a rate of 200-300 mV, this is deemed to be a normal level of oxidation. However, this largely depends on the type of wine, how it’s handled in the winery and how it’s stored. When you go beyond this range, the oxidation detracts from the flavour and the quality of the drink.

So, how can we easily tell if a wine is not oxidised at home? Mainly based on changes in the colour and flavour of the wine. White wine oxidises at faster rather than red wine. However, both get darker, shifting towards a brown colour.

To avoid oxidation, you should finish off the bottle in the recommended time after uncorking it and make sure that you keep it in the right conditions at home.

Learn more tricks for storing wine at home

PRICKED WINE

In line with the previous term, we’re now moving onto a interesting concept: “pricked wine”. What does it mean? If someone tells you a wine is pricked, it means that the flavour is off, which means it’s not suitable for drinking.

This issue is caused specifically by oxidation, the presence of oxygen and acetic acid bacteria. The latter are bacteria that metabolise ethanol and also cause other processes that gives wine a slight unpleasant acidity or even turn it completely sour.

How can we tell if a wine is pricked? To avoid drinking a pricked wine, there are some basic key tips to know how to spot one. There are many ways:

  1. Knowing the vintage of the wine: if a wine has been stored for too long, too much oxygen might have gotten into the wine. You should be particularly aware of this with young wines or those that haven’t been aged for long, since they should be consumed within a shorter time frame. As such, the best thing to do is to take a look at the label to work it out.
  2. Analysing the bottle: this is slightly more complicated; if the cork or the capsule are not in place, some air may have gotten into the bottle.
  3. Looking at the wine: some pricked wines have a skin floating on top and some of them are cloudy.
  4. Smelling the wine: this is easy to do, since the wine will have a strong vinegary smell.
  5. Tasting the wine: don’t worry, it’s no poisonous. Just unpleasant. If the wine is pricked, it will be vinegary with a rough mouthfeel.
Cómo saber si un vino está picado
Qué es el raspón

STALKS

Let’s keep moving our way through the wine dictionary! The stalk (also known as the stem) is the structure that holds a bunch of grapes together. In other words, it’s like their skeleton. Its main role is to hold up each of the grape, but it can be used for much more.

It can play a key role in winemaking. Any idea how? Because, whether or not it is included in the winemaking process can affect many aspects of the final product, such as the pH level, the tannins, fermentation, colour, aroma, etc. So, what’s best? Traditionally, it was very common to include it in the wine. However, now it depends on the criteria and choice of each winery.

AFTERTASTE

This is the sensation that wine leaves in the mouth, throat and nose after tasting it. One thing we just love about wine is its lasting power. In fact, when it comes to tasting wine, we should just look out for the aromas we get before and the flavour when we drink or spit it. We should also be looking out for the notes that it leaves behind once we’ve tasted it.

That’s why, when we talk about ‘lingering in the nose’ or ‘lingering on the palate’.. We’re talking about notes of the aftertaste which can tell us about the quality of the wine. If these aspects last for quite some time, then we have a wine that’s ‘long in the mouth/nose/throat’. If it doesn’t linger, then we have a ‘short wine’ (of a lower calibre).

Don’t worry if you can’t make out some of these characteristics. We need to train our senses slowly so that they get sharper over time.

Would you like to do a wine tasting at home? We’ll tell you how to set one up
Qué es el retrogusto
Qué es un vino redondo

ROUND / ROTUNDITY

Let’s take a look at the last term in our Wine Dictionary. This is a word that professionals often use, such as sommeliers on wine tastings. But what do we mean when we say a wine is round?

Pamela Vandyke, a famous British wine journalist, gave a very good definition and the reasoning behind it. In fact, her definition is the benchmark today.

She said: “Many people find it helpful to think of wines as having a shape. Some immature wines often seem to be angular, other seem straight up and down in slightly unripe vintages. A round wine has its skeleton (the alcohol) adequately and pleasantly covered with flesh (the fruit) and is enhanced by a good skin (the fragrance). Excess rotundity shows a lack of proportion, but many young wines possess a type of puppy fat which they shed later.”

In more colloquial terms, if we call a wine ‘round’, we generally mean that it is well-balanced. In other words, a wine that is balances out all of its elements, such as acidity, sweetness, tannins, alcohol level, fragrances, body, etc. As such, harmony reigns among them.

Do you want to learn more? Don’t for get to take a look at the other entries in our Wine Dictionary to learn all the terms you need for this world full of notes and perfection.

Wine dictionary: Learn what a ‘young wine’ and the ‘magnum’ category mean (J-L-M)Wine dictionary: what is a foudre or a Gran Reserva?
Llevar vino en la maleta

How to transport wine on a trip

By Sin categorizar, Sin categorizar

If you’re a wine lover, you must have wondered how to pack a bottle of wine into your suitcase or how to take wine on to a plane safely. There are many people who often buy a bottle of wine from the place they’ve been visiting on holiday as a souvenir or as a present for friends and family.  

In this article, you find out everything you need to know about taking a bottle of wine on a plane or in your suitcase however you’re travelling without the worry of it smashing. 

guardar vino en la maleta

How to pack a bottle of wine in your suitcase

To protect your wine bottles in your suitcase, the most common method is wrapping them up in bubble wrap. If you don’t have any to hand, put the bottle in a few plastic bags to separate them from the rest of your things. If you also wrap the bottle up in your clothes (such as towels, jumpers or sweatshirts), this will protect them against any bumps.  

One little tip: we recommend placing the bottles in the middle of your suitcase, or even inside your socks and shoes to give them better protection, but don’t put them near any hard objects you have in your suitcase. 

You could also use neoprene bags specifically designed for transporting bottles. If you buy more than 6 bottles, it might be better to buy a specific suitcase for them. 

Remember that if you’re going by plane, it’s best to avoid bringing sparkling wines since the pressure and the gas inside them can make them explode. 

Do you want to know how to enjoy your wine this summer?

How to transport wine on a plane

Before buying wine on your way back from your trip, you need to be sure of how you’re going to carry it, bearing in mind the restrictions that airports have for taking this wine in your suitcase.  

The best thing you can do is to buy your wine in the airport Duty Free. That way you won’t have to put them into your carry-on luggage, and you can choose where you put them once in the cabin. However, this only works for a couple of bottles, of course. If you’re going to buy more, it’s best to do so beforehand and protect them in your suitcase.  

transportar vino en el avión
cómo llevar bebidas en un avión

Restrictions for travelling with alcoholic beverages

Another thing you should bear in mind are the restrictions that airlines and countries have for travelling with alcoholic beverages in your suitcase. As a rule of thumb, in the European Union you won’t have to pay any extra taxes on alcoholic beverages that you bring with you if they’re for personal use; in other words, if you’re not going to sell them on. However, the customs officers may want to make sure that your bottles are for personal use and ask you a few questions.  

The EU member states decide the maximum number of alcoholic beverages you can take into their countries, but there are minimum amounts. When it comes to wine, this is 20 litres of fortified wine. If you come from outside the European Union, you can only bring in 4 litres of wine. 

One thing to remember! Some airlines require you to use extruded polystyrene padded packaging to put bottles in your suitcase. 

One last tip: make sure your airline doesn’t have a maximum number of bottles that they let you take in your suitcase.  

Have a great trip wherever you’re going, but hold on to your passion for wine! To make sure of that, take a look at our tips for buying a good wine in complete certainty. Make sure you don’t get ripped off! 

What are wine points, what are they based on and which are the most influential?How to choose a good wine: 9 tips that will make you an expert
Recetas maridaje vino blanco

7 summer recipes that go perfectly with white wine

By Sin categorizar

Summer is here! And to kick off the season, everyone is in the mood for summer recipes to cool off and keep on enjoying good food, just as we do all year round. That’s why, here at El Coto, to celebrate our #WhiteWineSummerwe’ve got 7 summer recipes that go perfectly with white wine for you. Which wine? All of them! Which course? Even dessert!

They will really whet your appetite… 

Receta gazpacho andaluz

1. Andalusian Gazpacho + El Coto Blanco

Ingredients

  • 1kg ripe tomatoes 
  • 1 Italian green pepper 
  • 1 cucumber 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 40g stale bread 
  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar 
  • 1 glass of water 
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Toppings: cucumber, tomato, onion, etc. 

Steps 

  1. Wash andcleanthe vegetables.
  2. Chop the vegetables and put them into a blender or food processor. Add the oil, vinegar, salt, bread and a little water. Blend at full power.
  3. If it ends up a little thick, add a little more water.
  4. Optional: you can strain it if you end up with lumps.
  5. Store it in the fridge and enjoy it nice andcool, topped with diced cucumber, tomato and onion.
El Coto Blanco es la mejor compañía de tu gazpacho

2. Pasta salad with sun dried tomatoes and cashew nuts + El Coto Selección Viñedos Sauvignon Blanc

Ingredients 

  • 320g dry fusilli  
  • 100g sun-dried tomatoes in oil 
  • 150g feta cheese or farmer cheese 
  • 20g cashew nuts 
  • Rocket or lettuce to taste 
  • Extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste 

Steps 

  1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack.
  2. Rinse it off with cold water and store it in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the salad. 
  3. Chop the cashew nuts, dice the cheese and slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Of course, you can add other ingredients such as onion.
  4. Create a base of rocket or lettuce in a bowl.
  5. Add the cold pasta and the rest of the sliced ingredients.
  6. Add salt to taste and a generous dash of extra virgin olive oil. Toss the salad… And it’s ready to eat!
Raise a glass of El Coto Selección Viñedos Sauvignon Blanc
Receta ensalada de pasta con anacardos
Receta corzo con patatas

3. Roe venison stew with potatoes and button mushrooms + Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco

Ingredients 

  • 1kg diced roe venison  
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 2 onions 
  • 200g button mushrooms 
  • 3 potatoes  
  • 1 glass of brandy 
  • 1 glass of red cooking wine 
  • Olive oil  
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • Parsley, pepper, garlic powder, salt and flour. 

Steps 

  1. Mix the chopped garlic cloves, bay leaves, wine and brandy into a large dish, submerge thedicedroe venison and leave it to marinate in the fridge for approximately 12 hours. 
  2. Remove the meat and drain, keepingthe marinate.
  3. Season the meat, coat in flour and brown the chunks in a large pot.
  4. Remove the meat and, using the same oil, add the onion, the marinade with the garlic and a little parsley.
  5. Add the meat and leave it to stew on a low heat. If it needs more water, add stock or water.
  6. While the meat is cooking, dice the potatoes and fry, and sauté the mushrooms.
  7. When they’re ready, add them to the pot with the meat and leave them to cook for a further 5 minutes. It’s just delicious!
Game dishes, always with Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco

4. Stuffed tomatoes + Coto Mayor Sauvignon Blanc

Ingredients 

  • 2 tomatoes 
  • 2 boiled eggs 
  • 2 cans of tuna, drained 
  • Mayonnaise 

Steps 

  1. Slice the top off the tomatoes and seed, leaving the skin on. Add salt
  2. In a bowl, add the drained tuna, the boiled eggs and the mayonnaise. You can add other ingredients to taste, such as capers, olives or prawns. 
  3. Sutff the tomatoes with the mixture.
  4. Leave to chill in the fridge for one hour and it’s done! It couldn’t be easier
Receta arroz caldoso con marisco

5. Seafood and rice stew + 875 m Chardonnay

Ingredients  

  • 180g bomba rice 
  • Fish or seafood stock 
  • 2 tomatoes 
  • 1 green pepper 
  • 5 cloves of garlic  
  • 200g mussels 
  • 200g clams 
  • 200g king prawns 
  • 200g squid 

Steps 

  1. Cook the mussels and clams (to open them) in one pot, and the heads and tails of the king prawns in another pot, then combine the broths.
  2. Sauté the garlic, the finely chopped pepper and the tomatoes.
  3. In a saucepan or a paella pan, add olive oil, squid and the sautéed vegetables. Stir well and add the rice and stock. Measure out one part rice to four parts stock.
  4. Cook on a medium heat, and 15 minutes later, add the king prawns, clams and mussels.
  5. After five minutes, or whenever it’s as creamy as you want it to be, turn off the heat and leave it to rest.
875m Chardonnay is aged in the barrel for 6 months and goes perfectly with this stew

6. Albóndigas de rape y langostinos + El Coto Verdejo

Ingredients

  • 500g monkfish 
  • 200g king prawns 
  • 300ml fish stock 
  • 1 onion 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 glass of white wine 
  • Flour 
  • Salt  
  • Parsley 
  • Oil 
  • Breadcrumbs 

Steps 

  1. Finely chop the following ingredients and mix in a bowl: monkfish, king prawns, half and onion and parsley. Once, mixed, beat an egg and add it to the bowl along withbreadcrumbsand salt. Mix again. 
  2. Shape the mix into balls and roll them in flour. Fry them in a good amount of oil. You can eat them as they are, without any sauce, or even shape them into mini burger patties. 
  3. To create a sauce, sweat off the other half of the onion, diced, and once it’s cooked through, add the glass of white wine. 
  4. Once the alcohol has cooked off, add the fish stock and the meatballs. 
  5. Leave it took cook until the sauce thickens, and it’s ready to serve.
We selected El Coto Verdejo for these meatballs
Receta albondigas de rape
Receta tarta de queso con mermelada

7. Cheesecake + El Coto Semidulce

Ingredients 

  • 200g biscuits  
  • 80g butter 
  • 100ml single cream 
  • 500g cream cheese 
  • 300ml milk 
  • 170g  sugar 
  • 2 sachets of gelatine mix 
  • Fruit jam to taste 

Steps

  1. Crush the biscuits into very small pieces, almost into a powder.
  2. Add the melted butter and mix well.
  3. Add the mixture the cake tin you are going to use and press it down firmly. Leave to chill in the fridge.
  4. While it is cooling down, boil the cream, milk, sugar and cheese. Stir constantly, and when it has all come together, add the sachets of gelatinemix. 
  5. Take the biscuit base out of the fridge and carefully pour the mixture over it. Leave it in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
  6. Take out of the cake tin and add the jam on top, or any red berries that you like.
The best thing to go with dessert is a semi-semi-sweet...
El Coto referente vino blanco

Why El Coto de Rioja is a benchmark in white wine

By Sin categorizar

It’s no coincidence that we have become the leading maker of white wines in DOCa Rioja over the past 10 years and that we are among the top 3 best-selling white wines in Spain.  Behind this success, there is lots of passion, perseverance and hard work. Want to learn the secrets to our success? We’ll explain one by one.

mapa viñedos y fincas El Coto

El Coto: the largest winegrowers in La Rioja

To ensure our wines are top-quality, whether red or white, our first strategy was to own as many vineyards as possible. This way, we can always ensure an exceptional product, year after year

Today, we have no less than 730 hectares, all located in the various sub zones of DOCa Rioja.

See our map of vineyards and estates

Dedicated to new varieties

Ongoing innovation has been crucial to evolving over time and offering surprising products full of personality that stand out.

In fact, El Coto de Rioja was a pioneer in working with the new white varieties authorised by the Regulatory Board in 2006 (none had been authorised since 1925). They authorised Verdejo, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and El Coto has been able to perfectly combine the tradition of our local grape, Viura, with the new varieties to make fresh, elegant wines.

Extensión viñedos El Coto
El Coto vino blanco 875m

Finca Carbonera: The highest altitude vineyard in DOCa Rioja

Finca Carbonera is the highest altitude vineyard in DOCa Rioja (875 m), and the heart of a unique project to make Rioja white wines. After years of searching, we found this estate that, with its special climate and soil conditions, is perfect for making white wine.

It was on this estate, in fact, that our white wine project was born, including 875m Chardonnay, among many other specialities.

The only on-site crushing facility in Rioja vineyards

If there is one thing that sets our Finca Carbonera vineyard apart, in addition to its impressive 200 hectares of land, it is that it has a facility to turn the grapes into must on site, just minutes after being harvested, which helps maintain the grapes’ qualities. This way, we prevent oxidation and the extraction of polyphenols that can occur while the grapes are being transported to the winery, especially on warm days in late summer.

On-site crushing facilities, in fact, are quite common in France in the Champagne region, where sales prices mean they can afford this extra investment.

Types of white wine in Spain
Barricas El Coto de Rioja
Bodega especializada en vino blanco El Coto

Winery specialising in making whites

White and rosé wines use much more technology in the winemaking process. It is essential to have the latest advances in refrigeration and fermentation. So, El Coto de Rioja has invested in building a specialised winery with the latest technology to make white wines.

And this winery isn’t the only one with this type of specialisation. Within the winemaking process, we have 11 other specialised spaces so that each step, from ageing to bottling, is done independently under optimal conditions.

Visit each of our wineries

Greater diversity of varieties and wine types

In recent years, El Coto de Rioja has launched several new products to market, many of them white wines. As a result, our winery has one of the biggest lines of white wines in Spain:

Young whites

Wood-aged whites

Delight in our whole line of whites in our shop
Tipos de vino blanco El Coto
Vino blanco beneficios salud

Accessibility of our products

All this hard work would be meaningless if you couldn’t experience and enjoy the wine like we do. We want to be there for you, any time! So, we can’t end this list of reasons why El Coto de Rioja is a benchmark without mentioning the accessibility of all our wines.

 

Through our online shop or your nearest supermarket or restaurant, we make it easy for you to find your favourite wine, regardless of the category.

Apart from being easy to find, we also want to be as affordable as possible without sacrificing quality. That’s why we do everything we can to make excellent quality at affordable prices. This way, you can always enjoy an exceptional white wine, whether for a normal day or special occasion.

If you’re not sure which El Coto de Rioja wine to choose, don’t miss this special article on how to choose the perfect wine for any occasion.

You can’t go wrong with these wines!

And if you want to learn more about the world of white wine, take a look at these articles:

Mitos sobre el vino blanco

6 myths about white wine

By Sin categorizar

You’ve heard false myths about white wine so many times that you weren’t even aware that they aren’t true. Myths like you always have to drink it cold. Like it never pairs with good red meat. Myths like it being of lesser quality. Did you really believe all of that? Well, you’ve come to the right place to bust all those myths about white wine and realise everything that goes into this very special type of wine so you can enjoy a #WhiteWineSummer to the fullest.

Mitos vino blanco se toma frio

Myth 1: White wine should always be served cold

Let’s start with one of the most widespread myths: the ideal serving temperature for white wine. It’s not uncommon to believe that white wine should always be served cold, but nothing could be further from the truth. It depends on the type of white wine you’re drinking. Very young white wines that have been barrel aged should be served at a temperature between 7°C and 9°C, for example our El Coto Verdejo.

However, for aged white wines, the serving temperature is quite a bit higher: between 10°C and 13°C, because serving them colder would mean we lose certain aromas. A good example of a white wine served at a warmer temperature is 875m Chardonnay.

If you want to know more about the right serving temperature for each type of wine, don’t miss this article:

WHAT SERVING TEMPERATURE IS RIGHT FOR EACH TYPE OF WINE?

Myth 2: White wine should never be served with red meat

Another very common myth about white wine is that it can’t pair well with meat. Not at all! In fact, did you know that one of the best wines for game is an aged white? For our Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco, the ageing on its lees in the barrel and the characteristic freshness of the high-altitude vineyard at the Finca Carbonera estate give it an extraordinary, persistent unctuousness and aromatic complexity.

The best wine for meat is Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco

Myth 3: There isn’t a very wide variety of whites

There are so many grape varieties, DOs, ageing types… How couldn’t there be a wide variety of whites? Viura, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are just a few of the white grapes we use at our winery. Because at El Coto de Rioja we are experts in white wines, with 7 types on our rolls.

You can choose the type of white wine you like best: drier, sweeter, fruitier, more aged, younger…

Want to see our whole line of whites?

Types of white wine in Spain
Variedad blancos el coto de rioja
Vino blanco para maridar queso

Myth 4: White wine never pairs well with cheese or cold meats

Another myth we want to bust is that the only possible pairing for a cheese board is red wine… No way! Of course cheese goes great with red wine, but it does with white wine, too. In fact, soft, creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert, pair wonderfully with a glass of white wine, as do some cured cheeses.

And if you tend to have doubts about how to pair different foods, don’t miss this article on how to pair with dishes.

Myth 5: White wine isn’t as good quality as red and doesn’t age as well

The quality of white wine is, of course, comparable to red wine, although it isn’t normally aged as long. However, as we have repeated several times, there are also white wines aged for several months, which gives them different nuances. So, myth busted! It ages just as well as any red wine.

875m Chardonnay is a delicious white with oak

Myth 6: White wine isn’t good for you

Finally, will finish off our myths about white wine with the theory that it isn’t good for you, or at least not as good as red wine. Of course, as with red wine, you should always drink it in moderation, but it has great benefits such as:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Rich in minerals and low in calories
  • Helps lower anxiety and stress levels
  • Like red wine, it helps prevents cardiovascular disease

If you’re interested, you can check out the benefits of red wine, too.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF RED WINE
Vino blanco beneficios salud
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