Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In an Euskadi state of mind

This evening, on the train ride home from work, my friend Chiara and I shared some txakoli (alternatively known as txakolina, maybe it's a declension thing - Basque language majors?) There's nothing better than drinking on Caltrain, especially if you're drinking Basque wine. Xarmant, our Caltrain txakoli for the evening, is the largest producer in the Arabako Txakolina D.O.

Let' break it down first with some Txakoli (-na) basics.

There are 3 sub-regions, differentiated by place and levels of dissolved CO2. Here they are from fizziest to least fizzy:

Getariako Txakolina(Ameztoi, Talai Berri, Txomin Etxaniz and I believe 9 other producers) - these wines are produced in the area just outside of San Sebastian
Arabako Txakolina (Xarmant, plus a few other very tiny estates (?) ) - from the Basque province of Alava, a bit further south than the other two D.O.'s
Bizkaiko Txakolina (Uriondo, Gurrutxaga, Gorrondona, Berroia) - Centered around Bilbao.

Since my work pays me to be geeky (for those who know me, easy on the comments, bitches!) I decided to taste the remaining Caltrain bottle of Xarmant side by side with the famed fizzy Ameztoi and the Uriondo. At the expense of preparing/eating a proper dinner, I did this.

Xarmant Arabako Txakolina- Green fruits, especially lime. Simple but very thirst quenching and satisfying.
Ameztoi Getariako Tkakolina- Also green fruited, but noticeably fizzier. Mineral, tighter, more complex (but it's txakoli, after all, so not too complex)
Uriondo Bizkaiko Txakolina - This was my clear favorite. It's the least fizzy, but also the most textural and distinctive. Slightly underripe Anjou pear flavor, excellent purity and mouthfeel, and a faint suggestion of white pepper on the finish. Txakoli 'gastronomique,' if you will.

Off to eat some cheesy toast and salad for dinner; hopefully this has been of interest to one or two people....


David McDuff said...

One or two at least, I hope. I must say I don't have nearly enough experience with Txakoli to add to the discussion but you're spiking my interest in exploring further. And you're really spiking my craving for a return trip to Donostia. Haven't been since the World Cycling Championships were held there in '97.

Joe Manekin said...

You should look for the xarmant and ameztoi, which should be easily found - State Line, perhaps? Props for referring to San Sebastian by its Basque name.