As buzz mounts over wines that are traditionally sipped in the summer time – a fruity glass of Beajoulais, a refreshing bottle of rose – bar managers and mixologists shouldn't overlook one of Spain's finest refreshing offerings – Txakoli. Pronounced Cha-co-lee, the effervescent wine is lauded for its easy-going qualities. It effortlessly pairs with a wide variety of foods or makes a nice stand-alone option.
"Txakoli's biggest selling point is its presentation."
Txakoli's biggest selling point is its presentation. It offers the bar crowd a spectacle all on its own. Once a bottle is opened, the bartender should insert a pour spout into it. Traditionally, the drink is served by someone who holds a wine glass in one hand and the bottle in the other. The server will pour the drink from outstretched arms, creating an arc. This technique opens the wine up and makes it more bubbly.
With such a regal presentation, it comes as no surprise that this refreshing drink hails from the Basque country of Spain – a place where the dining scene emulates greatness. According to The New York Times, it's hard not to notice all of the Txakoli on a trip to the Basque country.
More Txakoli than people to drink it
Ignacio Ameztoi, a family member of the owners of Ameztoi, a leading Txakolina producer, spoke about the sheer volume of Txakoli in the Basque region.
"In San Sebastián, you wouldn't believe how much Txakolina is drunk in the month of August alone," Ameztoi told NYT. "Here in Basque country, they drink it year-round. They drink it with meat, too. That's the culture."
Interestingly enough, it's difficult to find Txakoli outside of that region, with the exception of the US. Serious Eats pointed out that one of the most common options served in America is Getariako. It hails from the oldest and largest Denominacion de Origen – legal terminology that distinguishes an authentic wine with particular ingredients from other ones that try to pass off as the same product.
About the grapes
On a more general scale, the majority of Txakoli wines are made with hondarrabi zuri grapes. From time to time, someone can stumble upon a red Txakoli, but it's more rare. One might be so lucky enough to find it on a sojourn to Spain.
Despite Txakoli's versatility, it undoubtedly pairs best with Mediterranean fare, specifically tapas – or as they say in Basque country – pinxtos. Bon Appetit magazine emphasized that seafood makes for the ultimate pairing, whether it's sushi or grilled marlin.
Bon Appetit also pointed out how to tell a good Txakoli from a bad one. A delicious tasting wine that rids the palate of any food flavors is ideal. However, if the wine is on the watery side or if it doesn't have a strong mouth feel, then it's not in good shape.
Restaurants that offer Txakoli have the advantage of offering guests a fun experience and a unique and interesting varietal. It's the perfect drink for patio season.
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