This wine says summer in every sip. It’s refreshing, flavorful, unencumbered by oak, and low in alcohol. It’s a perfect companion to just about any lunch, or for casual sipping on the beach, patio, or at a party (yes, we’ll be able to have those again someday). I think of it as one of the ultimate white wines for day drinking.
So what exactly is El Coto’s 2019 Blanco? First, it is a $10 wine, and it delivers beautifully for the price. Second, it’s made primarily from Viura, the most important white variety in Rioja and a grape that can deliver fresh and easy-drinking wines like this, or complex, oak-aged wines that can develop for years in barrel and bottle. (The Viura grape is known as Macabeo in the south of France.)
Besides Viura, some Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc are also in the blend. The wine is straightforward and delicious, fermented and aged in stainless steel with an ABV of 12.5 percent — just what I want in an inexpensive, uncomplicated summer white that can be enjoyed just about any time, anywhere. Aromas and tastes of green apple and tropical fruit are punctuated by floral and citrus notes (orange and lime) on the finish.
The wine will pair well with broiled or fried white fish fillets, shrimp and clams, and sushi, but it’s more versatile than that — I enjoyed it with a weekend lunch of sautéed diced pancetta, chopped onions, and spinach tossed with fusilli. With its zesty acidity, it cut through the fat and salt of the pancetta and gave the meal a nice lift.
El Coto is one of the top wine brands in Rioja and in Spain, part of the Grupo Barón de Ley, known primarily for its range of traditional, Tempranillo-based reds. As I’ve discovered with El Coto’s 2019 Blanco and some of its other whites, the winery delivers exceptional value across the board.