Jul 28, 2021
The Basque Country in northeastern Spain lies on the Bay of Biscay and abuts the Pyrenees Mountains, a mere 18 mi/30 km from the French border. Until about a decade ago, this area was relatively unknown as a wine region. But with the rise of Basque cuisine, an increased interest from wine buyers in native varietals, and a desire for lower alcohol, thirst-quenching wines, Txakolina (chock-o-LEEN-ah), a white, high acid, spritzy wine started to get attention. The phenom started in places all over the United States (which boasts a Basque population of more than 50,000 people), then the UK and Japan, now small quantities of wine find their way to many other countries around the world.
Map of Basque Country: Vineyards.com
In this show, we discuss this historic region, with its own language, culture, and wine traditions. We talk about how the modern wine industry was renewed, and what you can expect from these delicious, refreshing (mainly white) wines. If you haven’t had these wines or heard of them, this should will give you a good foundation to learn about them and appreciate all that it took for them to make it to your table!
Here the show notes:
Photo: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao in Basque Country
Photo: Bodega Doniene Gorrondona
Txakolina Vineyard Photo: Josu Goñi Etxabe,
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Finally, we discuss the Denominaciones de Origen:
Getariako Txakolina or Txakoli de Getaria, (Chacolí de Guetaria -Spanish), is the most important, oldest, and most prolific DO, yet the smallest geographically. The wines are softer and riper, with less bitterness and great acidity. They nearly always have spritz.
Bizkaiko Txakolina or Txakoli de Bizkaia - (Spanish is Chacolí de Vizcaya), got its DO in 1994. It is mostly small tracts of land around Bilbao, overlooking the Bay of Biscay. These wines are more herbaceous than other regions and can be less fizzy, fuller, rounder and more textured.
Arabako Txakolina or Txakoli de Álava, achieved DO status in 2001, making it the youngest DO. This area is inland, south of Bilbao. In the south of this province, you'll find Rioja Alavesa. The north makes acidic, dry, fruity, low alcohol wines. These wines are often blended -- Hondarrabi Zuri, Gross Manseng, Petit Manseng and Petit Corbu are commonly mixed together.
Producers we mention:
Photo: Bodegas Itsasmendi
*Outro Snippet from the Song "Mr. Dobalina" is by Del the Funky Homo Sapien, (c)1991 from the "I Wish My Brother George Was Here", Elektra Records.
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