El Coto Coto De Imaz Reserva 2016  £16.95

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El Coto was founded in 1970 in Rioja Alavesa and has grown from modest 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. They also source grapes from all three areas, but mostly from Rioja Alavesa. Head winemaker César 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 two Coto de Imaz wines are sourced exclusively from El Coto's estate in Cenicero in Rioja Alta. The low yielding bush vines aged between 35- 55 years are planted on predominantly limestone and clay soils.

2016 was characterised by drought and high temperatures during the growing season Disease pressure was very low, resulting in abundant yields of excellent quality fruit. The wine produced this year shows great balance between acidity and modest alcohol levels.

The best grapes were needed for the Imaz wines because of the extended maceration on the skins which lasted for 21-30 days during fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 22-27°C. Malolactic fermentation took place in the tanks before the wine was transferred to new American oak barrels (225 litre) to age for at least 18 months. Following bottling, the wine was further matured for a minimum of 24 months prior to release.

This wine is intense cherry in colour with a hint of ageing at the rim. On the nose, it has ripe red fruits accompanied by hints of cocoa from the new American oak. On the palate, the wine is velvety and round, with smooth tannins and good acidity. The finish is balanced and long.

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