On a recent trip to Bilbao and Getxo in the Basque region of Spain I had to taste one of their unique local wines – Txakoli. For a start the name threw me, we don’t get taught how to pronounce ‘tx’ in English. Secondly, selecting a bottle was also difficult, having never drunk it before it was hard to know what was good so I picked this based on the official looking label and reasonable price (around €7.50) – not the cheapest and not the most expensive. I did Spanish for one term when I was about 15 years old, so my comprehension of the label was below average.
I was told by my ex-Sommelier friend that when you order it in a bar they pour it from a height – I bought it from the Supermarket so missed out on that, and wasn’t so keen on recreating the experience in my friend’s apartment. A little bit of googling revealed that this is a wine typically drunk within a year of bottling and enjoyed as an aperitif. This particular wine made by the Bodegas Virgen de Lorea and was bottled in July 2011 and from the Bizkaia region – all on track there. We enjoyed this alongside some delectable Spanish cheeses and olives – pintxos*
First impressions, this reminded me of cheap cask/box wine and smelled like it too. It was medium, very fruit forward with a tangy citrus minerally finish and a very light yellow. Second taste was much better, it kind of reminded me of young Hunter Valley Semillon – very lemony but light and much sweeter. I have to admit I didn’t notice the slight sparkle that you’re meant to get with this. It did taste rather juicy, and at 11.5% alcohol is relatively light. Other comments on the wine:
“It makes me want a dry wine.”
“I can imagine drinking it on a sunny afternoon.”
In the end we concluded that yes, this wine was good, but in the right setting. We finished the bottle so it wasn’t all bad. Some further googling revealed the tasting notes translated as, “Straw yellow, clean, medium intensity nose with aromas of fennel herbóreos and citrus along with sensations. Length and light flavors on the palate. Fruity.”
Sensations! Love that word.
*Pintxos are little Spanish bar snacks you pick up when out, usually these are spread all over the bar and you just grab what you want – typically costing from €1.50 to €2.50 this makes drinking and snacking out delicious and economical!