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 César Fernández 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.
The grapes for this wine are sourced mainly from Rioja Alavesa (65%) with some from Rioja Alta (25%) and Rioja Baja (10%). Soils are mainly limestone and clay.
The must is fermented in stainless-steel, temperature-controlled tanks at 20-26ºC over a period of 20-25 days. Once fermentation is complete, malolactic fermentation occurs. The wine is aged for a minimum of 12 months in American oak and a further 6 months in bottle before release.
The nose is fresh and pronounced with concentrated red fruits and notes of vanilla and toasted oak. On the palate, it is silky with a core of strawberry fruit combined with sweet spicy flavours from American oak. The finish is juicy and long.