Txomin Etxaniz Blanco Chacoli de Guetaria DO

By | August 24, 2007

We avoided watching the England Germany friendly by heading out for some tapas. The restaurant was far fuller than I’d expected and the service was grim. Catching a waiter (I’m opting to use that as a generic term – ‘waitperson’ just feels weird) was hard work, so when we forgot to order sherry it was just too late to recover. We’d gone straight to the wine list and I chose a Txomin Etxaniz Blanco Chacoli de Guetaria DO 2006. My reasoning was simple. I’d never heard of it before and I’d never tried a Basque wine.

It’s made of Hondarribi Zuri and other local, unpronounceable grapes. Water white, it had a gentle aroma of blossoms. Dry with a brisk prickle on the tongue, it’s crisply acidic and positively zippy. There’s some sweet fruit, but the overwhelming sense is of refreshment – the perfect tapas accompaniment.

At 10.5% alcohol it’s quite light, and it comes in an oddly Germanic bottle. The barman told us the owner liked to carve out a hole in the cork with a penknife and pour it from a height to maximise aeration. It sounded bonkers but it seems in Basque country they have a special pouring device and tall glasses for that very reason. I recently received a different aerating tool as a pressie so maybe I’ll try it out.

We paid about £18 which was at the upper end of the wine list, but pretty good value as it seems to retail at about £10.