We’ve grabbed a bottle of Coto de Imaz Rioja for a little experiment, and you’re going to want to see what we’ve done.

There’s a lot of tradition in wine, and Rioja wine is no exception. Pairing Rioja with food often follows age-old rules or guidelines, handed down through generations. This isn’t a bad thing. Far from it, in fact. Classic food and wine pairings are classic for a reason, and far be it from us to badmouth them. However, classic pairings are not the only way to go – and that’s where our bottle of Coto de Imaz Rioja comes in…

 

Tasting Coto de Imaz Rioja Reserva 2011

This wine comes from El Coto de Rioja, a prominent bodega with vineyards in the Rioja Alta subzone. For us, Coto de Imaz Rioja Reserva 2011 is a rather typical example of the Rioja Reserva style, so it was the natural choice for our little food and wine pairing experiment.

This Coto de Imaz Rioja is 100% Tempranillo, aged for 17 months in American oak and a further three years in bottle.

Pretty intense, clean cherry colour and garnet edge.

On the nose, it presents a variety of aromatic nuances, ripe fruit and fine cocoa.

On the palate shows good structure, with a powerful attack, it is velvety, with ripe tannins and balanced acidity.

 

Food pairing with Rioja wine generally

It’s not an especially scientific term, but Rioja is traditionally a great “meat wine”. Pair red Rioja with roast beef, lamb, steak or barbeque meat, and you can’t go wrong. These are tried and tested pairings, and they won’t let you down. Coto de Imaz Rioja Reserva certainly fits the bill here, so if traditional is your thing, then look no further.

If you want something a little different with your Rioja, though, you’re in the right place…

 

3 surprising food pairings for Coto de Imaz  Rioja

Food and wine pairings don’t have to follow tradition in order to be good. With a few rules of thumb, an open mind and some experimentation, you’ll be surprised how great some non-traditional pairings can be.

We’ve popped the cork on our bottle of Coto de Imaz 2011, and we’ve laid on three dishes that might surprise you!

 

1. Coto de Imaz Rioja with fish and chips

British-style fish and chips is a salty, greasy delight. This takeaway staple is unfussy and a lot of fun. It’s not traditionally the sort of thing you’d pair with any wine, let alone a red Rioja. Fish and red wine can be tricky, and besides, it’s a pretty informal dish.

We’ve got an extra-salty bag of battered fish and chips, and we’ve poured a glass of Coto de Imaz. Believe it or not: It works! The saltiness of the dish increases the wine’s body and mouthfeel, while playing down the acidity and tannin. The greasy, smoked fish is a little more substantial than your average whitefish. It’s not perfect with the red wine, but it’s not overpowered.

  • The verdict:

    Not the greatest match in the world, but not bad! Try it for a posh takeaway!

 

2. Coto de Imaz Rioja with spaghetti Bolognese

Pairing Italian food and Spanish wine may be controversial to some Italian or Spanish readers, but we seriously recommend it!

Our Coto de Imaz Rioja has well-integrated acidity, and the tomato-based Bolognese is high in acid too. The result is that we taste less of the wine’s acidity, and more of its body and fruitiness.

  • The verdict:

    Very pleasant indeed, highly recommended!

 

3. Coto de Imaz Rioja with pretzels

You won’t find this option in any fancy restaurants, but it’s perfect for some late night snacking! Pretzels are a wonderfully salty snack, and when pit against our Rioja Reserva, they bring out the wine’s smooth body and fruitiness while downplaying the tannin and acidity.

  • The verdict:

    It won’t be winning any kudos from gastronomic chefs, but this is a seriously solid pairing!

 

Pairing wine and food…and people

Even the most technically “correct” food and wine pairing will not appeal to all tastes. Human tastes and perceptions vary widely, so always keep that in mind. You and I may like the same thing, but we may not. A great way to learn about your own tastes and preferences is to carry out experiments like this one. Pick out a bottle and match it with some very different foods. See what works and what doesn’t. Never stop learning!

 

Learn all about food and wine pairing with our free ebook, Pairing Food and Wine: Learn to Match Food and Wine like a Sommelier.

 

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