Gorgeous seaside views stretch out from the terraced vineyards of the Basque region. A briny Atlantic breeze chases the Spanish heat away and rustles the vines, keeping the fruit at an even temperature. A craving for fruits of the sea paired with fruits of the vine is easy to acquire here – and even easier to satiate. This is Txakolina country.
Txakolina (choc-o-lina) is the white wine of choice in the Basque and is sold in every restaurant from Getaria to Biarritz. In the United States, it is generally only seen on wine lists assembled by Sommeliers with a love for wines low in alcohol and high in acidity. Txakolina is their little darling. Made from the Hondarrabi Zuri grape, its tongue-twisting name has prevented it from becoming a household name like Chardonnay or Merlot. But its taste is a universal delight: light, refreshing, slightly effervescent, and simple. The signature bright acidity makes it a perfect pairing for fish and seafood, but take a tip from the locals and this versatile wine can be paired with cheese, fruit, meats, salads and every other item that may tease your palate.
Traditionally, Txakolina is served from a “porron,” or pitcher. Somewhat like a decanter with a long narrow pouring spout, this vessel was passed around the table to share by pouring directly into the mouth. In modern use, tall glasses are placed on the table while the server stands on a chair, allowing the liquid to arc out over your head and creating a bubbly splash upon landing in its glass.
We have removed the drama of the pour in our service of this wine, but every drop of fizzy, refreshing Txakolina is still yours to enjoy from one of the oldest producers of this lovely grape.
Txomin Etxaniz, Txakolina, Getaria, Spain