El Coto was founded in 1970 in Rioja Alavesa and has grown from humble beginnings into one of the best-known Rioja producers. Today El Coto has over 700 hectares of vineyard in production across the three Rioja DOCa sub-zones of Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental. This makes them the largest vineyard owner in Rioja and gives them great control of the quality of the grapes which go into their wines, the majority of which are sourced from their own vineyards. Their stand-out reds hail primarily from their estate at Cenicero in the heart of Rioja Alta. There is an increased focus on sustainability, both in the vineyard and the winery, including the use of cover crops and integrated pest management. In addition, they are in the process of converting 38 hectares of the Los Almendros vineyard to organic viticulture, aiming to be certified in the next two years.
They have invested in a new property, Finca Carbonera, ideal for the production of their white wines. With parts of the estate reaching almost 900 metres above sea level, it is the highest vineyard in all of Rioja, and perfect for the new white grape varieties.
Head winemaker Cesar Fernandez oversees production, starting with hand picking into 350 kilogram crates to ensure the grapes arrive at the winery in pristine condition. Modern and intelligently designed, the emphasis in the winery is on temperature control and gentle handling of the grapes.
Grapes for the Gran Reserva are sourced exclusively from El Coto's estate in Cenicero in Rioja Alta, where the soils are predominantly made up of limestone and clay.
The Control Board of the Rioja DOCa awarded an official rating of 'Good' to the 2014 vintage. A wet winter replenished water reserves in the soil and a warm start to the spring triggered an earlier than usual bud break. Mild temperatures during the summer allowed the grapes to go through a perfectly paced slow ripening. Occasional showers required careful management of the vine canopy in order to keep mildew at bay and some rain at the time of harvest meant that more rigorous grape selection than usual was required to ensure that only grapes in pristine condition made it into the wine.
Only the very best grapes were selected for this wine. The maceration on skins lasted for three to four weeks. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures of 21-27ºC for 21-30 days. The resulting wine was then aged in a mixture of French and American oak (75% new) for a minimum of 24 months, followed by 36 months ageing in bottle prior to release.
This wine is a brilliant ruby-red colour with tinges of brick red. Mature and elegant, its rich aromatic complexity is initially subtle, revealing itself more and more as the wine breathes. Toasted oak nuances and coconut give way to notes of leather and damp earth from bottle ageing. On the palate, silky, rounded tannins accompany fresh red berries, dried raisins and spicy notes. This is a complex wine with exceptional concentration and a long finish.
Caribbean goat curry is a winner with this one!