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JUNE THIRST CLUB - XARMANT TXAKOLI 2017

Posted by Chris LaBranche on

           

STORY

Many of the wine world’s most peculiar and interesting wines come from regions that boast a rich and powerful local culture apart from–and often at odds with–that of their home nation. This month’s selection comes from one of the most unique corners of Europe, Spain’s Basque Country. Viticulture has thrived here for centuries, and yet the local style of wine, Txakolí, was at risk of dying out as recently as the 1900s. As the story goes, the style was born to quench the region’s intense thirst during the apéritif hour, when a glass of white and seafood-based snacks known as pinxtos were commonplace. Folks in San Sebastian needed something refreshing and tasty to complement their snacks, yet that was also moderate in alcohol. The light, spritzy Txakolí was born. In the 1960s the regional government began encouraging the new generation of winemakers to replant their family’s vineyards with native varietals to preserve the agrarian and wine-centric culture of the region. Only recently, however, has this unique, amply refreshing style of wine gained popularity outside of the region. We’re pleased that it will be gracing your summertime table.

TASTING

Notes of ripe, zesty Granny smith apples and honeydew melon great you on the nose in the glass. Moving to the palate, this wine is light and zippy with complementary notes of lime zest, chalky minerals, and pear. Though it truly is an unbeatable apéritif wine, Basque locals drink Txakolí year round and with everything from seafood to red meat. I suggest going big on high-quality tinned seafood and salty, sheep’s milk cheeses. Or, even better, try it with our pairing–Spanish Mussels with Serrano ham.

MORE

Though not all examples of Txakolí are gently effervescent like this one, most that you come across will be. This is achieved by cooling the fermenting juice to near freezing temperatures and blanketing with nitrogen to trap the naturally produced carbon dioxide that normally escapes during winemaking. The wine is then bottled quite young, at low levels of alcohol and relatively high levels of acidity, along with that charmingly gentle effervescence, making one of the most humbly refreshing apéritif wines in all of Europe.

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