It's been awhile since you have heard from us here at drink the good stuff and for that we apologize. Trying to get the first two issues of The Bon Vivant Wine Guide up and running in the midst of all the holiday hoopla proved to be a considerable undertaking for winemonkey and vino girl. Not that we didn't take a break for a good glass of wine or two every once in awhile, which brings me to the first post of the New Year.
I have noticed a little known Spanish wine popping up on wine lists around town lately. The wine is called Txakoli (pronounced chac-o-lee) and it is a slightly sparkling wine from the Basque country in Spain. The Basque country is probably better known, unfortunately, for separatists and the ETA than for wine but for some reason Txakoli seems to be catching on here in NYC.
Txakoli is produced from indigenous grapes, Hondarribi Zuri and Munemahatsa or Folle blanche. A traditional product of the Basque country, the wine fell off the radar in the 19th century until a local Basque association, in the 80's, formed a group to bring the wine back to life.
The wine is very high in acidity, which accounts for its slight sparkle, and low in alcohol. The Basque usually drink it in small glasses, as opposed to wine glasses, and serve it with Spanish tapas. The wine is customarily poured in ceremonious fashion with the bottle held high above the glass causing something of a waterfall of wine. This fancy effect is said to make the flavors of the wine burst out instantaneously (hmmmm). In any case, it takes a dexterous bartender to pull this off so don't expect this type of treatment except for in the most traditional of Spanish wine bars.
I have enjoyed some glasses of Txakoli (nothing to ponder but a nice refreshing starter) and others I found to be a little cloudy and odd because of the ever so slight sparkle. Nevertheless it is a fun wine -- and something different -- with fresh, tangy fruit and floral flavors. It does not come as cheap as you might expect for an unfussy little wine but this is due to the fact that so little is currently imported. You can find it, as mentioned, on wine by the glass lists around town as well as at some local retailers. Here in New York it is available at Appellation Wine & Spirits on 10th Ave. near 20th street for just under $20. Salud!