El Coto | Rioja Alavesa

El Coto Rioja bottles laid in cellar

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.

El Coto 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 - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo - recently authorised by the Rioja Wine Board. Head winemaker César Fernández oversees production, starting with hand picking 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 quality of production here was recognised at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2019, with the El Coto 2012 Gran Reserva taking home ‘Best in Show’ and 97 points. More recently, it was listed ninth in Wine Enthusiast’s Top Wines of 2020 and came ‘highly recommended’ as one of Decanter’s Wines of the Year 2020.