From: Hondarribia (Spanish: Fuenterrabia), Spain
Varietal: Hondarrabi Zuri
Taste: Clean and light spritz. Light yellow in color with greenish tones. Soft, delicate bubbles can be detected in the pour, typical of Txakolina. Intense aromas of white pear, crisp green apple, citrus (grapefruit), and tropical (pineapple and passion fruit) fruit aromas, also swathed with white flower (orange blossom) scents, all enhanced by the subtle release of the natural carbonic gas. It is very balanced and fresh, with a certain sense of spicy sparkle on the tongue and an integrated acidity. Pleasing the palate with a citrus and tropical aftertaste. Long, zesty, and aromatic finish.
Pairing: If you're snacking rather than having a full meal, try Txakolina with salty Spanish snacks known as conserves, such as tinned seafood, cured ham, olives, and nuts. If tinned fish isn’t your thing, we’re sharing a classic tuna recipe by Mark Bittman below.
Tin Fish Suggestions: Wild-caught in the waters of Spain, Italy and Croatia, Matiz Sardines are considered some of the finest sardines available in the world. Prized for their plump, tender texture and rich flavor, they are hand-packed fresh from the ocean in traditional Spanish style with Spanish olive oil and a touch of sea salt, lemon, smoked, or spicy chili peppers.
-Matiz Wild Sardines in Spanish Olive Oil 4.2 oz Tin
-Matiz Wild Spicy Sardines with Piri Piri Pepper in Olive Oil 4.2 oz Tin
-Matiz Wild Sardines with Lemon 4.2 oz Tin
All available at Champion Wine Cellars. Please, give them a try with some Piri Piri peppers and olive oil over crackers (before we eat all of them), they’re so yummy.
Grilled Tuna With Herbs and Olives
By Mark Bittman
About. Hiruzta is a winery in Hondarribia (the traditional Basque name, also known in Spanish as Fuenterrabia), a town in the Basque Country of northern Spain, near the French border. This winery is notable for revitalizing the traditional txakoli wine, a slightly sparkling, dry white wine characteristic of the Basque region. Hiruzta, which adds a modern twist to txakoli production, was founded by the Rekalde family, who aimed to recover the winemaking tradition of Hondarribia that dates back to the 12th century but had been nearly lost over time.
Hiruzta was founded in 2011 by Asensio Rekalde and his sons, Txarli and Angel Rekalde. were motivated by a vision to produce high-quality Txakoli wine that could stand on the national and international stage, showcasing the unique characteristics of the Basque region's viticulture, dating back as far as the 12th century. They are mainly focused on sustainability and carefully managing their vineyards to ensure the production of premium-quality grapes.
The origins of Txakoli are somewhat obscure, with references dating back several centuries. It is believed that the wine has been produced in the Basque Country for at least 500 years. Early documentation from the Middle Ages mentions the production of wine in the Basque region, which could be an ancestor of the modern Txakoli. These wines were traditionally made in small quantities by local farmers for personal consumption, using local grape varieties adapted to the coastal climate of the Basque Country.
During the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, Txakoli was widely produced and consumed in the Basque Country, but it remained largely a local, artisanal product. The wine was typically made in farmhouses and served in local taverns, rarely reaching markets outside the region. The methods of production varied widely, leading to significant variations in quality.
By the mid-20th century, Txakoli production faced a steep decline. This was due to a combination of factors, including urbanization, industrialization, and changes in agricultural practices, which led to the abandonment of many vineyards. Moreover, the introduction of more commercially viable and internationally known wine varieties further marginalized Txakoli production. By the latter part of the 20th century, Txakoli was at risk of disappearing altogether.
The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw a significant revival and modernization of Txakoli production. This resurgence was driven by a renewed interest in preserving traditional Basque culture and cuisine, as well as efforts by local producers to improve wine quality through modern viticulture and winemaking techniques. The establishment of Denominaciones de Origen (DOs), specifically Getariako Txakolina in 1989, Bizkaiko Txakolina in 1994, and Arabako Txakolina in 2001, helped standardize production methods and elevate the status of Txakoli wine. The wine is now exported to various parts of the world, enjoyed for its distinct character and versatility as a food pairing.
Txakolina (or Txakoli) is a traditional Basque wine known for its light effervescence, crisp acidity, and low to moderate alcohol content. This refreshing wine is typically a dry white, though rosé and red varieties also exist. Txakolina has a distinctive sharpness and is often accompanied by a subtle sparkle, making it an excellent companion to the region's seafood and pintxos. Its unique taste profile embodies the coastal terroir of the Basque region, capturing the essence of its local grape varieties and centuries-old wine-making traditions.
The production of Txakolina begins with the careful cultivation of local grape varieties, predominantly Hondarrabi Zuri for white Txakolina and Hondarrabi Beltza for the red and rosé versions. The cool, wet climate of the Basque Country, along with its unique coastal geography, contributes to the grapes' characteristic acidity and flavor. After harvest, the grapes are gently pressed, and the juice is fermented at controlled temperatures to preserve the wine's fresh, fruity aromas and signature light fizz. This effervescence is traditionally achieved through natural secondary fermentation in the bottle or tank, although modern methods also involve controlled carbonation. The winemaking process is closely regulated to ensure the wine retains its distinctiveness, reflecting the blend of tradition and innovation that characterizes contemporary Txakolina production.
The winery’s own 17 ha. vineyard is located in the surroundings of the winery itself, at the foothills of Jaizkibel Mountain. It is oriented towards the south, which protects it from the wind and dampness of the nearby Cantabrian Sea, thereby enjoying excellent sunshine. Trellis grew the vineyard using a double Guyot training system. The plot has clay-like soil arising from calcareous marlstones with fragments of limestone.
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