An Astonishing Gran Reserva Rioja

While stocks of well-cellared old Rioja are fast drying up, and prices from the producers are on a steep ascent, we continue our search.

Occasionally we hit pay dirt, as we did recently with a pair of El Coto "Coto de Imaz" Gran Reservas from the mid-1980s. The bottles are in pristine condition, thanks to having never left their original cellar. 

We've drunk several bottles of each and can attest to the wines' quality and condition. If you love Old Style Rioja, you'll think you've up and gone to heaven.

Cenicero Harmony

Bodegas El Coto was founded in 1970 by a group of experienced winemakers, who decided to collaborate with the fruit from their own 300 acres of Tempranillo at Cenicero, in Rioja’s heart.

Cenicero’s terroir has long been revered as the source of some of the very best Riojas, complete wines that combine the elegant structure of Rioja Alta with the full body of Rioja Alavesa. El Coto’s top wines, labeled Coto de Imaz after the 16th-century Imaz hunting lodge belonging to the Bodega’s owners, are exclusively sourced from Cenicero grapes to this day.

The harmony of this pure Tempranillo fruit, vinified and aged by classic methods, is what has allowed both vintages to develop with such wonderful balance and grace. The long, slow fermentation was followed by many years of aging in American oak barricas and bottle before release. The result is classic Rioja that's smooth, elegant and fresh on the palate, and a perfume that can fill a house.

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Wine barrels in a cellar

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Wine barrels in a cellar

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