From: Arabako Txakolina (a.k.a. Txakoli de Álava), Spain
Blend: 80% Hondarrabi Zuri, 20% Gros Manseng
Taste: Unlike txakoli from regions such as Getaria, Xarmant is bottled with less naturally-occurring residual carbon dioxide, staying true to the Álava style. This decision yields a bright, mineral-driven wine that dances with delicate notes of stone fruits, citrus, and a hint of saline on the nose. The palate carries lighter tones of savory spice, citrus, apricot, and saline minerals, with an enticing slightly acidic and persistent aftertaste. The mild intensity of the nose combines beautifully with the aromas of green apples, tropical fruits, citruses, and subtle hints of herbs and floral tones.
Pairing: This charming wine pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes. Think steamed or marinated asparagus, high-quality anchovies, sautéed baby squid, white beans in a citrusy vinaigrette, and floral sheep's milk cheeses (check out the recipe below). The delightfully crisp, naturally carbonic elements of the Xarmant Txakoli can create an elevated, memorable experience in every sip.
Fennel Salad With Anchovy and Olives
By David Tanis
About. Stepping back into the world of Spanish wines, we turn our attention to the green hills and vibrant valleys of Basque Country, home to the enticing 250ml Xarmant Txakoli cans. This 'charming' (the meaning of 'Xarmant' in the local dialect) little beverage hails from Arabako Txakolina, also known as Txakoli de Álava, an area famed for its historical, yet dynamic, vine-growing traditions.
The Designation of Origin (DO) of this wine, Arabako Txakolina, lies inland, to the south of the bustling city of Bilbao. Despite being the youngest and smallest DO, it boasts 99 hectares of verdant vineyards that stretch across five charming villages in the Ayala Valley: Aiara, Artziniega, Amurrio, Llodio, and Okondo.
Historical documents indicate that the production of Txakoli, a light, joyous, white wine, was a prominent part of the local culture as early as the 9th century. Intriguingly, the vine-growing tradition in the Ayala Valley has written accounts dating back to the year 864, specifically in the village of Artziniega.
Tragedy befell this wine-producing region in the late 1800s when a devastating outbreak of phylloxera nearly obliterated the thriving industry. Wine production dwindled for decades until a resurgence occurred in 1989. Local producers founded their own DO and established a Consejo Regulador, or wine regulating authority. The region received official recognition as a DO in 2002, signaling a rebirth and propelling efforts towards the revival of the region's wine culture.
Nestled close to Spain's rugged, northern coast near the Bay of Biscay, the verdant Amurrio valley provides an optimal microclimate for Xarmant's vineyards, a product of the region's close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. This wine is a symbol of friendship, shared amongst those who appreciate northern Spain's legendary cuisine.
The Xarmant estate spans 21 hectares, divided between 11 vineyards, where traditional Basque grape varieties flourish. The wines are crafted from a blend of Hondarribi Zuri (80%) and Gros Manseng (20%), both indigenous to the region. The vines, planted in 1986 in deep alluvial soil enriched with loam and calcareous elements, are farmed organically, allowing the grapes to truly reflect the soil's unique qualities.
The harvested grapes undergo fermentation in stainless steel tanks using indigenous yeasts, followed by two months of aging on the lees with occasional bâtonnage. The final blend then rests at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks for stabilization until bottling.
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