Txakoli, Txakoli, Txakoli!
Txakoli (cha-kol-E) comes straight off the Atlantic coast like a refreshing rain shower in summer. Produced exclusively in Spain’s Basque Country, Txakoli matches the Basque flair for seafood and pintxos (tapas), thanks to its palette of citrus fruits, its minerality, and its crisp acidity. Vineyards of Hondarribi Zuri (white) and and Hondarribi Beltza (red) sprawl across the rugged, verdant Basque coastal hills, particularly around Getaria: This little fishing village is also home to Elcano, who finished Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. It’s no coincidence that Txakoli offers hints of a fresh ocean breeze.
Every bar and restaurant in every Spanish Basque town serves Txakoli. They carefully pour it from several feet above a straight-walled, stemless glass, to enliven the wine with some effervescence, like the sea after a wave rolls through. Since the wine tastes its most crisp and fresh with this aeration, it is best to pour only a few gulps of Txakoli at a time. But don’t worry: low in alcohol, you can drink lots!
Producers of note include Ameztoi, who makes not only a classic Txakoli, but also a rosé, Rubentis, and a red, Stimatum. Treat your senses to a Basque Coast holiday this summer. Gora txakoli!
Ameztoi Wines Available Here Now:
Ameztoi Stimatum, Getariako Txakolina 2013 750ML ($21.95) Buy Now: $18 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “(100% hondarribi beltza): Pale, bright violet. Vibrant redcurrant and cherry scents are complemented by a sexy floral quality and a hint of white pepper. Dry, nervy and precise, offering bitter cherry and blood orange flavors that pick up a subtle sweetness with air. Clean, nervy and focused on the finish, which lingers with excellent spicy intensity. Wild stuff: this would be fantastic with young cheeses, from any mammal.” JR
Ameztoi Primus Txakoli di Getaria Hondarribi Zuri, Getariako Txakolina 2014 750ML ($27.95) Buy Now: $24 special
Winery note: More intense and structured than the regular Txakoli, in part due to moderate skin contact prior to fermentation. Pale white with a touch of green with bright tone and light, spritely bubbles. Fine and sophisticated aromas reminiscent of green apples and grapes, with a minty note. Dry-tasting in the beginning, with a wide and aromatic finish.
Ameztoi Txakoli di Getaria Hondarribi Zuri, Getariako Txakolina 2014 750ML ($24.95) Buy Now: $21.90 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Light yellow. High-pitched aromas of lime zest, jasmine, chalky minerals and green tea, with a hint of pear in the background. Fresh and sharply focused on the palate, offering bitter citrus pith and green apple flavors that spread out slowly on the back half. Shows excellent focus and lift on a long, incisive finish that emphatically echoes the lime and floral notes. I’d love to have a few bottles of this with a bunch of raw shellfish and crab.” JR
Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2015 750ML ($24.95) Buy Now: $20.90 special
Importer note “The pink sibling of Ameztoi’s flagship white, this vibrant rosé is made from a mix of red and white indigenous grapes and is bottled with a little residual carbon to give it a light spritz. Fermented in stainless steel. Tasting Notes: Candied red fruits combine with a lime infused edge makes this a wildly intriguing rosé.”