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GETARIAKO TXAKOLINA (CHACOLi DE GUETARIA)

You will be unlikely to encounter Txakolf (pronounced schakoli) outside the Basque country. This is a pity because it is an extremely delicious Spanish wine to drink with shellfish and other seafood. This white Spanish wine and a small amount of red is produced from 40 hectares around the towns of Zarautz, Getaria, and Aia. No great finesse can be anticipated from these wines because of the heavy soil, consisting of clay and alluvial deposits, and the severe, cold, wet, and windy climate. The native white Hondarrabi Zuri and blue Hondarrabi Beltza grapes never ripen fully under these conditions. Yet the white, rose, and red Txalolf wines are pleasingly fresh, often with a tingle of carbonic acid on the tip of the tongue. In general the quality is not very high for thise Spanish wines. Drink thise Spanish wines: 46.4- 50.0°F (8-10°C) (white/blanco), 50-53.6°F (10-12°C) (rosado/rose), and 53.6-55.4.2°F (12-13°C)(red/tinto) .

 

BIZKAIAKO TXAKOLINA (CHACOLÍ DE VIZCAYA)

This is the newest addition to the Txakolf family. The vineyards of Bizkaiako Txakolina are situated around Bilbao on about 60 hectares of clay soil and alluvial deposits. The climate here is windy, cold,and wet, all far from ideal for Spanish wine-growing. The grapes used for these Txakolf wines are the same as Getariako Txakolina: Hondarrabi Zuri for white and Hondarrabi Beltza for the red and rose Spanish wines. Drink thise Spanish wines at 46.4- 50.0°F (8-10°C) (white/blanco), 50-53.6°F (10-12°C) (rose/rosado), and 50-53.6°F (10-12°C)(red/tinto).

 

The high Ebro valley

The high Ebro valley encompasses the south of the País Vasco, Navarra, La Rioja and Aragon, which are all areas producing DO wines, except La Rioja which is the only DOC area in Spain. Rioja is also permitted to be produced in parts of Navarra and the southern part of the Basque country (País Vasco).

 

Conditions

The climate in the high valley of the Ebro is a good deal warmer than in north west Spain, where the moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean and Bay of Biscay is apparent. The Ebro valley is protected by a long chain of mountains (2,952 feet high/ about 900 metres/) and Aragon to the west is not higher than 984 feet (300 metres). The climate is largely of the continental type although southern parts of the Basque country are still partially influenced by the cold and moist air from the Atlantic. The winters are cold and the summers are hot high up in the Ebro valley, while spring and autumn are mild and moist. Navarra and La Rioja have directed themselves for many years at the French market and consequently close links have been established, for instance, between Bordeaux and both of the Spanish areas. One example of this to be found in Rioja is the bodega of Enrique Forner (Marques de Caceres), which has become very well known in Bordeaux under the name Henri Forner. It is not surprising therefore that the style of the wine is influenced by their northern neighbours. Many of these wines are less characteristically Spanish, being more French or even European, and this does not harm their quality.

The traditional white Spanish wine of the Ebro valley was often heavy and robust to act as a foil for Basque cooking (specialities are freshwater and sea fish). The traditional red Spanish wine was also robust and was ideal with many meat dishes (lamb and beef), that are often locally grilled over a fire or spit-roasted. Nowadays far more modern-style Spanish wines are being made. The white Spanish wine is fresher and lighter, and the red wine is more scented, more fruity, and has a more delicate taste. For the sake of clarity, Rioja wines are given by their denomination and not their area of origin.

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