Updated: Jul 21
Above the beautiful Bay of Biscay, in the Spanish town of Guernica, for which Pablo Picasso named his powerful painting, we now find Bodegas Itsasmendi, which means ‘sea and mountain’ in Basque. These ECO certified vineyards, a more meticulous form of organic, use biodynamic methods in growing and producing their wonderful wines.
Located between the green mountains between Bilbao, made popular by Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, and coastal seafaring town of San Sebastian, grow the indigenous grapes of red Hondarrabi Beltza, believed to be descended from Cabernet Franc and white Hondarrabi Zuri. When the red is blended with Pinot Noir, and white blended with Riesling, they produce the famously-fun, almost bubbly Basque wines known as Txakoli, pronounced “chah-kuh-lee.” Red or white, the slightly spritz qualities of these wines pair perfectly with pintxos, a local tapas like snack featured on small bread slices topped with various ingredients, such as goat cheese, caramelized onions, or marinated anchovies, olives, and red bell peppers. For those who love an afternoon or early evening aperitif, Txakoli is a refreshingly acidic, low-alcohol, elegant, and effervescent in ways that make this wine marvelously memorable.
Beyond the beauty of these Basque varietals, a part of what makes them important to the region is that they were saved from becoming extinct when Phylloxera, an aphid from America, nearly wiped out all the variant European Vitis Vinifera Vines starting in the 19th century. Ironically, what ended up being the savior of various European vines, was wild root stock from North America varietals being grafted onto them, as the native root stock withstands the aphid’s attack. In this regard, what makes growing Hondarrabi Beltza and Hondarrabi Zuri so special, is that they had to be restored to the region, and Bodegas Itasmendi’s Garikoitz Rios is a large part of what has made this resurrection possible.
Buy below to try this special world wine yourself!
Itsasmendi ‘7’ Txakoli 2015 & 2017 | Bizkaiko Txakolina, Gernika, Basque County | Spain
Made to express the unique characteristics of each vineyard, ‘7’ delivers a mosaic of white fruits, mixed florals, grapefruit, chamomile and mineral. The palate opens quite full bodied and rich, but settles as zesty acidity and structure gain control on the finish.
Pair it with raw seafood such as ceviches, oysters or sushi. It is also delicious as an aperitif.
Grape Varieties: 80% Hondarrabi Zuri, 20% Riesling
. 2015 Itsasmendi 7 | Order Now
. 2017 Itsasmendi 7 | Order Now