When you travel to Basque country and enjoy a glass of Txakoli at the bar, it feels like a truly authentic experience: you’re drinking the “real” wine of the locals. And it’s true! Txakoli’s a delicious and local treat you’re unlikely to find just one or two towns over in, say, Santander or Biarritz.
But that Txakoli is actually a modern invention made possible by mechanical farming and steel tanks. It’s different from what the locals drank even a generation or two ago. What were the wines like back then? Well, now you can find out, thanks to our friends at Ameztoi (the growers behind perennial Rosé fave, “Rubentis”).
For the first time, Ameztoi has exported a super-old-fashioned Txakoli, a true labor of love. They used their best material, Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza from their their highest-elevation and oldest vineyards. And they made the wine using old, pre-Franco methods: natural fermentations in 600L barrels followed by several months resting there on the lees. No manipulation. No technology.
Of course, part of Txakoli’s charm is its steely freshness. But don’t worry for a moment they gave that up. Think instead of the great Chablis that also undergo aging in neutral barrels, like Raveneau’s or Dauvissat’s, which have extra levels of richness and complexity without sacrificing any chablisien tension or fresh minerality. Likewise, the Kirkilla is a rich but incredibly acid-driven, savory, herbal wine. One point: while the other wines from Ameztoi all have some level of spritz, this is a still wine.
Again, this is the first time in the U.S. and hardly any wine came in. Indeed, we don’t see anyone else offering this wine in the United States. This is definitely one to try, and especially appropriate for warm weather during a holiday week: