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1970-2020: 50th anniversary of El Coto De Rioja

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1970 was a historical year for Rioja. It was the year the Regulations for the Designation of Origin and its Regulating Council were established. And 1970 was also the year one of the most representative wineries in D.O.Ca Rioja was founded, El Coto de Rioja.

Located in one of the historical towns of D.O.Ca Rioja, Oyón (Álava), El Coto de Rioja has enjoyed great success, based on taking meticulous care in every last detail and focusing on making top-quality wines that satisfy both occasional and more serious consumers.

The first years were difficult, as they are for all businesses. But the winery radically shifted gears in 1983 when Eduardo Santos-Ruiz joined the project, then a successful young executive from the financial sector. The first thing Eduardo did was to surround himself with a team of young professionals with proven track records in the wine sector. This team would prove essential in the following decades, as their management took El Coto de Rioja from a small winery to a benchmark in D.O.Ca Rioja.

From the very beginning the winery was clear that its winemaking philosophy would be to respect the classic Rioja style: red wines aged in oak barrels. This is why El Coto doesn’t make young red wines. All of the winery’s reds are aged in oak barrels for at least 12 months. The Crianza wines are sold under the brand “El Coto” and the Reserva and Gran Reserva, “Coto de Imaz”.

An essential element in this success was Eduardo Santos-Ruiz’s vision that medium- to long-term planning was necessary in a highly competitive sector like winemaking. This, along with his obsession for details, led him to promote an investment policy that would ensure the quality and consistency of the wines.

Furthermore, the El Coto de Rioja winemaking philosophy has always been based on the vineyards as the main source of quality for the wines. Therefore, year after year, the winery invests part of its profits in acquiring more vineyards. This policy has not only made the winery the biggest winegrower in the D.O.Ca Rioja with over 800 hectares of its own vines but has also given the winemaking team great options to create their unique wines, with vineyards in all of the subzones (Alta, Alavesa, Oriental), planted with different grapes and on different soils.

In recent years, El Coto has been at the heart of the resurgence of Rioja white wines. In a time when whites had become less popular, and many other brands had turned to other Spanish regions for their white-wine projects, El Coto, believing in the huge possibilities Rioja has to offer in making quality white wines, sought out an estate with the right climate and soil conditions.

As a result of this search, the winery purchased the Finca Carbonera estate, the highest altitude vineyard in D.O.Ca Rioja. There they planted grapes newly authorised by the Rioja council (Verdejo, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc). Along with the Viura vineyards the winery already owned, this allowed the oenology team to create the most diverse line of whites in Rioja, and has put El Coto Blanco among the top three white wines sold in Spain.

Over these 50 years, the greatest reward for the winery has been the consumers’ trust and belief in the brand, which has made El Coto de Rioja the leading winery in the Spanish market in every category it makes wine in: Reserva, Crianza, white and rosé, as well as a global benchmark in Spanish wine, exporting its products to over 70 countries.

Also, El Coto de Rioja wines are enjoying a particularly sweet period in terms of international acclaim, having won important awards such as the IWSC Best Winery in Spain for 2016, Best in Show for Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva 2012 with 97 points at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2019, and Coto Mayor 2015 being rated the best Rioja Crianza at the 2019 IWSC with 95 points.

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El Coto Crianza

El Coto Crianza

The wine shows a clean, bright cherry colour with medium intensity. The aromatics deliver a fresh and fruity character with notes of vanilla and distinctive toasted nuances. On the palate it is silky and persistent, presenting a slightly spicy fruity taste.

Coto de Imaz reserva

Coto de Imaz Reserva

Deep cherry red with garnet glints. It displays intense aromatics with ripe red fruits combined with fine cocoa and balsamic freshness. On the palate it is powerful yet elegant and harmonious, with good acidity and velvety tannins, delivering a long aftertaste.

875 m Fermentado en Barrica

875 m Fermentado en Barrica

Produced with Chardonnay grapes from the highest altitude vineyard in the D.O.Ca Rioja. The careful fermentation in new french oak respects the delicacy and uniqueness of this Chardonnay, contributing remarkable smoothness and further aromatic complexity.


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