A Wine To Basque In
A curious wine popped onto the Sacramento scene recently (and I’ll bet you can find it in many areas). Its less familiar name draws attention then challenges one’s pronunciation. The color charms with its hue, while taste has you second-guessing its tickle, then whop! Drawn in for another try to make sure you’re really drinking a what?
The Basque country in northern Spain produces a stand out wine. I say stand out because it does; a still wine with a spunky character.
The Txakoli region, pronounced “Chak-oh-lee” is filled with family growers and smaller producers who are commanding attention for their wines. The area is recognized as a Denominación de Origen (DO) and contains three sub regions: Alava, Biscay and Getaria.
Mostly white wine is made there from the Hondarribi Zuri grape. They also make a small amount of red from Hondarrabi Beltza. Both tend to be lower in alcohol so you can enjoy more than one glass without your brain feeling altered.
My Txakoli intro was a few years ago while exploring Spain’s northern half. Now when I hear the name I immediately think of a dry white wine with enlightened acid. I won’t tell you it’s got a razor sharp character because you may shy away.
Popular in pinxtos and tapas bars in Spain, the wine is poured in a peculiar manner. It comes out of the bottle with so much spirit it’s poured from a foot or more over the glass in order to “break the wine with air” as they say.
This particular Txakoli is a rose with a bit less acid than most from the region. A sniff is reminiscent of red berries and minerals. A sip shows off its crisp, spritzy sparkle followed by minerals and young strawberries. I partake while cooking- a stellar aperitif but you can’t beat it with summer BBQ (think pizza or grilled veggies).
There’s a screaming deal on Gurrutxaga Txakoli Rose right now in Sacramento at the Natural Foods Co-op. Corti Bros also carries it and a few other wines from Txakoli. If you’re looking for a new summer wine adventure, this one is worth checking out.