Still searching for that perfect hot-weather wine? Search no further. Instead, look to Spain’s semi-autonomous Basque country for your new favorite summer sipper.
Txakoli (pronounced “chah-koh-lee”) is the perfect summer wine and comes in white and rosé. The whites are made from hondarrabi zuri (zuri is the Basque word for white) grapes while the rosés are typically produced from hondarrabi beltza (beltza means black). Both are slightly effervescent with a good degree of acidity, low alcohol and tend to be described as “bone dry.” But don’t worry, there are still delicious summery notes of citrus, fresh herbs and a slightly saline minerality that will get your mouth watering.
They’re perfect for those long, hot summer days when you don’t want too heavy a wine, and go perfectly with cheese, charcuterie and other light bites.
They’ve been making Txakoli in Basque country at least as far back as the 16th century. For a long time, it was basically a low-quality farmhouse wine and was on the wane in the 20th century until it gained its very own Denominación de Origen (D.O.) in 1989, which also guaranteed certain quality controls.
The epicenter of Txakoli production is the coastal town of Getaria, and the surrounding D.O. is Getariako, so if you see that listed on a menu, that might be a good sample to try. Other denominations of note include Bizkaiko and Alava.
If you do order it, see if the sommelier knows to serve it by pouring it out from a great height, as it is traditionally done in Spain to aerate the wine and enhance its slight bubbliness.
Here are two to try.
Zudugarai “Amats”: From the Getariako D.O., this wine is a bargain, and a thirst-quencher with signature flavors of green apple, grass and a breath of Cantabrian sea breeze to keep it light. Drink it with raw and fresh seafood.
Txomin Etaniz Rosé: One of the best examples of a rosé Txakoli, this gorgeous pink wine tastes like fresh strawberries and lime, and is crisp and tangy. Perfect for a light aperitif, or as an accompaniment to seafood and grilled fish.