Showing posts with label Txakoli. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Txakoli. Show all posts

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Check out this distinctive Basque wine. And a Bordeaux gem!

Check out this distinctive Basque wine.

And a Bordeaux gem!

Getaria memorial to Elcano

Ameztoi Getaria Txakoli (DO) 2018, 10.5%

€18.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Very little colour in this Highly Recommended Basque wine. And nothing too bold in the nose either, though the subtle salinity and modest fruit provide a hint of things to come. Nothing backward about the lively minerally palate, its tart green apple fruit, that trademark petillance and that unmistakable vivid acidity, though the acidity in this one is markedly less severe than you’ll find in other examples. 

A tumbler of freshly poured
Txakoli in Hendaye

The bubbles, by the way, don’t hang around too long but you can get more of them if you pour it the Basque way, that is from over shoulder height and into a sturdy tumbler held or stood at waist height - you’ll also see them pouring cider in this way. If you try pouring into a normal wine glass from that height, you’re looking for an accident!

Located near the Basque Country fishing village of Getaria between San Sebastian and Bilbao, Ignacio Ameztoi’s vineyards are cut into incredibly steep terraced slopes overlooking the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic.

Balenciaga house in Getaria

Here the native grapes Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza are trained in high trellises; they are not weeded and no chemical sprays are used. Hondarribia is the first Spanish town you meet after leaving Hendaye (the last town in the south west of France) and crossing the Bidasoa River. Zuri means white and Beltza means red.

Getaria vineyard

Txakoli is regarded as the perfect companion to salted anchovies or tuna in oil. By the way, Ameztoi blend the red and the white to produce what I’ve read is a very interesting rosé. The USA is the leading market for the company.

Juan Sebastián Elcano, featured on the label, was from Getaria and is famous for completing the round the world voyage that Magellan began. There is a sturdy memorial to him in the middle of the village. This picturesque, and busy, place is also the birthplace of fashion designer Balenciaga and there is a museum here in his honour.

Chateau Tire Pé Bordeaux (AC) 2018, 13%,

 €16.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This organic 100% Merlot pours a dark ruby.  Ripe black and red berried fruit in the fairly intense aromas. And the same fruit features strongly on the palate, some spice too and an excellent acidity. The wine is a lovely harmonious Bordeaux, easy and fruity, easy to drink, easy to enjoy. 

Not so harmonious on the hill of Tire Pé back in the day when the horse was the main “engine” of the farm. Apparently, the working horses would pass wind under the effort of climbing the hill, on their way back to the farm. A different kind of aromatics!

Hélène and David Barrault purchased Tire Pé in 1997 and have been farming organically since 2008 (certified since 2014).They have created a little garden of Eden, where wild grass, insects, birds and small wild animals live among the vines. They regard this Merlot as an everyday wine, “to drink in its youth”. No wood used here, ageing is 8 to 12 months in concrete.

Very Highly Recommended. This one will be going straight on to my Good Value Wine List  which is steadily growing! 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Ex El Bulli Somm Brings Stunning Duo To Liberty Wines Portfolio Tasting

Ex El Bulli Somm Brings Stunning Duo
 To Liberty Wines Portfolio Tasting

Didn’t quite realise it at the time, but the David I was chatting with at the amazing Liberty Wines Portfolio tasting in the Westbury Hotel (Dublin) last week was none other than David Seijas Vila (above), the former head-sommelier at the world famous restaurant El Bulli. David worked at Catalonia’s famous three-Michelin starred restaurant for 11 years until it closed in 2011.

He was in Dublin to promote his latest venture, the Gallina de Piel wines. This is in conjunction with Ferran Centelles (another El Bulli alumnus). The highly acclaimed Spanish duo’s aim is to create versatile wines from Spain’s gastronomic northern regions: Catalonia, Aragon and Galicia. They work with local growers, selecting the best vineyards and indigenous grape varieties.
Lithograph for the Mimetic label

The vineyards are located in the Penedès denomination at an altitude of between 750 and 1,000 metres above sea level on deep clay soil with pebbles on the surface. The vines are aged between 35 to 80 years old and trained on the double Guyot system.

The vineyards are located in the Penedès denomination at an altitude of between 750 and 1,000 metres above sea level on deep clay soil with pebbles on the surface. The vines are aged between 35 to 80 years old and trained on the double Guyot system.
Liberty Lads: Joe and Marcus (right)

The first thing that caught my attention when I got these two bottles a few months back were the labels and their amazing designs. Then again, I shouldn’t have been too surprised because some of the best label designs I’ve seen in recent years have come from Catalonia. 

The Gallina de Piel white is `Ikigall` Penedès (DO) 2018, produced mostly from Xarel-lo, a light-skinned grape from Catalonia, perhaps best known for its role in sparkling Cava. The other grapes included here are Malvasia (10%) and Muscat of Alexandria (5%). Mid straw is the colour. Fragrant for sure, floral and citrus (lime). Immediately you note that tingly feel at the tip of your tongue, a feeling that soon spreads, right through to crisp finish. Citrus flavours are subtly influential in this fresh and rather elegant and very lovely wine.

Their red is the Mimetic Calatayud (DO) 2018. It’s a bright juicy Garnacha (98%) with an engaging freshness. Colour is a mid to a dark ruby. Dark fruits with a touch of herb (marjoram), feature in the aromas. First thing I noticed on the palate is the balance, no extremes in this graph, and that perfect harmony continues between the delicious fruit flavour and acidity. A touch of spice adds interest through to the lengthy finish. Elegant and fresh and well worth looking out for.
There are dry wines and then there's Txakoli

Another Spanish wine worth noting, for me at least, is the Xtrème Ecologico organic Rioja Crianza 2015. It is 100 per cent Tempranillo and has spent 14 months in oak. Very well made, well rounded and one I'll be chasing for sure.

I sipped the Bodega Agerre Txakoli, a Basque wine, for old times sake. Had some nice holidays down in that region and the wine in the Westbury certainly lacked nothing in acidity! Better on hols methinks than here.

Italy, like France, were very well represented here and thought a pair from Cantina di Nizza were pretty good. These were the Le Pole Barbera D’Asti 2018 and the Magister Barbera D’Asti 2017.Not much between them so both make my shortlist.

You have to visit Sicily on these occasions and I enjoyed two well-priced wines here from Vigneti Zabù (with Marco Scarinci), their 2019 Grillo and the 2018 Nero D’Avola.

Chianti of course is another must-stop and my lucky dip  was the Poggiotondo Organic Chianti Superiore. This 2016 also gets the thumbs up.
Organic from Capezzana

I always expect good things when Capezzana is on the label and so it proved once again. Delighted with my first wine, the Barco Real di Carmignano. Even better was the Villa di Capezzana Carmignano, not a total surprise considering it’s almost double the price.

With over 300 wines open, I was exercising discipline and operating off a short list (no sparklers to start with and nothing sweet at the end) and so tasted just a fraction of what was available. I must say though that my list worked out well and I didn’t have a dud for the afternoon in the packed room. Just shows that the Liberty buyers know what they are about.

The Domaine Corinne Perchaud Chablis 2018 was the first wine tasted and that set a high standard indeed. Never a doubt but that I was going to try a Beaujolais or two and neither the Frédéric Berne Lantignié “Pierre Bleue” nor the Dominique Morel Fleurie 2018 let me down! 

The Via Caritatis wines from an old papal vineyard in France were good as was the story and there’s a separate post here

Chile had two that I fancied, both from Itata. Surprisingly enough, I preferred the Clos des Fous ‘Pour Ma Gueule’ to the Pedro Parra ‘Vinista’ Pais, not that I disliked the latter, far from it.

There were two other quite excellent wines tasted from the Southern hemisphere. From Argentina, came the Amalaya Calchaqui Valley Malbec while the Tinpot Hut’s Sauvignon Blanc emphasised the continued excellence of Fiona Turner’s Marlborough wines.

No doubt I  missed out on some beauties but overall the feeling at the end of the afternoon was one of satisfaction and my list will be the basis for some even more satisfactory evenings ahead with full bottles instead of tasting samples! Cheers to all at Liberty for a terrific tasting and great that it was so well supported.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Txakoli, the Basque Wine

4 weeks in the Basque Country

Txakoli, the Basque Wine
Way to do it!

Aitako Txakolina 2010, Getariako (Spain), 11.5%

Txakoli (or Chacolí in Spanish) is a slightly sparkling, very dry white wine with high acidity and low alcohol. It is the wine of the Basque Country (Euskadi) which has provinces on each side of the French-Spanish border on the Atlantic coast.

Getariko (Getaria) is a lovely coastal town between San Sebastian and Bilbao and centre of one of the major producing areas. The major grape used in this bottle is Hondarribi Zuri.

The wine, as far as I know, is not exported to Ireland but apparently has strong sales in the USA where Basque cuisine is highly regarded and where the lower alcohol levels are attractive.

This one is somewhat more advanced, more complex, than your ordinary Txakoli (meant to be poured and drunk quickly). The bubbles and acidity are there but the flavours don’t vanish after the initial pouring, though the “head” does.

Properly poured!
The Aitako vineyard say they have made a careful selection, have harvested at the optimum time and have fermented at low temperatures for a more intense aroma. The wine has also benefited from being raised on its own lees as this “gives volume, smoothness and balance in the mouth.”

While this bottle, bought in a wine shop in the main street in Getaria, a town I visited three times during a recent holiday, is undoubtedly the best I’ve tasted, I will happily say that I also enjoyed more modest efforts.

As a visitor, I was delighted to be able to try out this unfamiliar wine in the local restaurants – while it is produced in Spain, it is drunk on both sides of the border.

One of the unusual elements is that it is poured from a height, from about two feet above the glass, usually a sturdy tumbler, the intent being to increase the bubbles and release the flavours. It sure added to the novelty and the fun. Still does, especially if you try it yourself!