Tasting: Txomin Etxaniz 2011

Txomin Etxaniz Vineyard

What is it?

A Basque white wine called txakoli (CHOCK-oh-lee) on home ground and referred to by its Castilian guise, Chacolí elsewhere in Spain.

txomin-etxaniz-2011Txakoli is a wine with great acidity and is bone dry with low alcohol. It is made in the Getaria region of northern Spain — the appellation is Getariako Txakolina. It has superb minerality and slight salinity from the winds of the Atlantic Ocean.  It is typically drunk very young and can be made flat or sparkling.

Drinking Txakoli is not just about sipping great wine. It is about experiencing the local Basque culture. The indigenous grapes used to make the wine have unusual sounding names – Hondarrabi Zuri (white), Hondarrabi Beltza (red), due to the Basque language, Euskarra, a pre-Indo-European language. Much of the wine is made for local indulgence.

It is typical custom to pour Txakoli in the traditional Basque way – from up high. The Basque high pour has a fitted stopper so that the server can pour the wine at a 90 degree angle and at a height of 10 to 12 inches. The wines are served in traditional flat-bottomed glass tumblers.   Not only does this presentation make it appealing to drink, with its splish, splash pour, but it aerates the wine, eliminating the carbon dioxide, forming a slightly foam on top, therefore, capturing bubbles in the glass.

waiter pouring Txacoli the traditional Basque way
Txacoli poured the traditional Basque way

Txakoli is theatrical. It’s a wine that draws a crowd around it when it’s poured. Part of the appeal of Txakoli is definitely the show-off factor.

The landscape of the Basque region is beautifully mountainous, where the rolling hills and vineyards meet the sea.  The vineyards are planted like a tree, on high trellis, so to keep them above the wet soils and where the winds can dry the vines.

Who is behind it?

Txomin Etxaniz, run by the Chueca family, is located in the heart of Getaria. It is a well-respected producer of Txakoli and one of the oldest in this region, dating back to 1649.

The producer has 35 hectares of protected, sloped vineyards in Getaria. Two native types of grape are grown here; Hondarrabi Zuri (90%) and Hondarrabi Beltza (10%), which are harvested by hand at the start of October with only small tractors to help out.

The Chueca family has been making wines for five generations and are renowned for the quality and subtlety of the wines. They have been recognised for their efforts in growing and vinifying the rare black grape, Hondarrabi Beltza.

txomin-bodegas
Txomin Bodegas

What does it taste like?

Yellow- green colour, this intriguing low -alcoholic wine has a striking lemon character; crisp but with subtle underlying tropical hints of guava and pineapple, slightly acidic and carbonated in the mouth.

What does it pair with?

This is a superb aperitif or perfect with, Basque snacks of local salt-cured anchovies slicked with a little olive oil, accompanied by slices of crusty bread. Other fantastic food pairings include Basque preserved tuna and other seafood caught in the region. San Sebastian has a plethora of Michelin rated restaurants.  Enjoy Txakoli with tapas, breads, cheeses, salted cod, gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimps). In the local seaside Pintxos bars of San Sebastian, local servers pour this wine with great zest, zeal and heights.

gastronomia_txominTechnical stuff:

Appellation:
D.O. Getariako Txakolina.

Grapes:
Hondarrabi Zuri
Hondarrabi Beltza

Location:
Grown on imposing steep slopes facing east at altitudes ranging from just above sea level to 200m. The area is protected from cold northerly winds by coastal hills.

Winemaker:
Ernesto Chueca

Alcohol:
11%

Winemaking:
The harvesting is done by hand in 20kg boxes.This is followed by white vinification at a controlled temperature, pneumatic pressing in an inert atmosphere, then fermenting at a controlled temperature and holding over sediment until it is bottled.

Best temperature:
Drink it cold at 6-8ºc

Trade contact details:

Mark Ferguson, sales executive (North England)
Moreno Wines & Co. Ltd
Tel: 020 7289 9952         Mob: 07976 981 162
Email: mark@moreno-wines.co.uk
www.morenowines.co.uk

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