TXAKOLI, THE BASQUE COUNTRY
It’s hot, green and sunny and it’s asking for some fizz. Or should that be spritz? Surely that sounds much better. Quite a few spritzy wines are available on the market but if you want something different, or new, why not head to the Basque Country and try the wine called Txakoli? It may have been produced there since the beginning of the 17th Century because vino chacolin was already documented in 1616. It’s had its own ups and downs and it’s now definitely on the up.
It’s coldish and wet there, in the Basque Country, so they have lots of fun with their wines, which are mostly greenish light and spritzy and the locals pour them skilfully from a considerable height straight into the glass (don’t try it at home without practising with water first). That way the wine opens up with a range of apply, citrus, white fruit and lightly toasty and minty aromas, releasing lots of fine tiny bubbles well integrated into the wine. The wine acquires more body, the texture - elasticity and a touch of minerality at the same time, and the spritz becomes even more sophisticated. With so much going on, your palate will struggle to forget its appeal.
Three colours of the wine are produced in the Basque Country, although white predominates. The main and most popular grape variety for the whites is Hondarabbi Zuri, if you can only pronounce it, and Hondarabbi Beltza for the reds, which may be related to Cabernet Franc, for rosado both black and white varieties are used. All three are extremely refreshing, food friendly and go well with seafood and fish. Try it also with goat Gouda and Pecorino cheese. And don’t forget to chill the reds, too.
Some sparkling, orange wines and wines that are deliciously sweet are also produced.
2017 Ameztoy, Txakoli de Getaria (10.5%), Basque Country Spain – to serve at 8-10*C
Highbury Vintners - £16.00
Les Caves de Pyrene - £14.80
If you want to taste a Txakoli red, try:
2017 Gorrondona Tinto, Doniene Gorrondona, Txakoli de Bizkaia, Basque, Spain
The Sampler - £18.90