Dec 31, 2020Chris LaBranche

Itxas Harri Beltza 2019 - $15.00


We move from our Syrah and Mourvèdre based Côtes du Rhône to a lovely example of the grape that normally dominates that blend–Grenache. Coming to us from Spain’s northerly Navarra appellation, Itxas Harri’s Beltza represents the grape’s lighter, more elegant side–made as a vin de soif rather than a bigger, more alcoholic iteration. Beltza is the estate’s everyday, super drinkable expression of Grenache, made with grapes grown in the soils of an ancient sea bed with minerality in mind. 


Opening up with bright red fruits–bing cherry, raspberry, and currant–this light and zesty Garnacha is a low-alcohol beauty with silky tannins and ample acidity. Behind its fruit is a notably herbal backbone, highlighting notes of fresh herbs, black pepper, and violet. A wine that will pair beautifully from everything from charcuterie to vegetarian fare, for an especially excellent pairing, try it with our recipe for Portobello Steaks with White Bean Purée.


Ixtas Harri is an exciting new project led by one of the biggest names in Txakolí, that unique and indispensable Basque wine that we all love. Ignacio Ameztoi, of Txakolí Ameztoi, teamed up with fellow Basque winemaker Iñaki Guelbenzu to explore the terroir of Navarra, far to the north of Basque country. Known for its exceptional and restrained expressions of Garnacha, they were pleased to find excellent plots in the village of Monteagudo. The project’s name ‘Ixtas Harri’ means sea stone in the local dialect, which are often found in the rocky soils of Navarra.


by Liza Morgioni

Rayo- Strunz & Farrah

I know it’s 2021 now, but I still think we all more-than-deserve to close our eyes and pretend we are by the ocean in Spain. This refreshing expression of Pais Vasco Garnacha was made for seafood, so get yourself some bacalao croquetas or “ttoro de mariscos” (basque shellfish stew!), crack open your Beltza, and relax.

Ignacio Ameztoi’s vineyard overlooks the beautiful Bay of Biscay, with the city of San Sebastian just off in the distance. This song, its name translating to “Rays”, was made for listening to in the sun by the sea. And yes, it may be icy-winter right now, but you’re already pretending you’re in Spain so why draw the line in the sands of reality there? On top of that, The Basque are known for their proud spirit and resilience. They value their traditions while also looking toward the future- a mindset worth emulating as we enter the new year.

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