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Berroia Txakoli de Bizkaia

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Txakoli, the wine of Pais Vasco (Basque Country) in northern Spain, is just like the region’s language, culture, and food – completely independent of the world around it. Txakoli is made from indigenous grapes Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza, that literally grow nowhere else in the world. Txakoli are wines of the sea – saline, with bracing acid and refreshing, clean mouthfeel. Within Pais Vasco, there are 2 distinct styles of wine called Txakoli. One is the Getaria style, slightly effervescent, almost cider-like - the style that is most familiar to American wine drinkers. Berroia is an estate-bottled wine made by Bodegas Berroja in the Bizkaia style, where the wines are made with more power and ageability. Elegant, savory and saline, Berroia Txakoli is a pre-eminent example.

Bodegas Berroja is surrounded by a protected national forest called Urdaibai near the village of Guernica. Berroia Txakoli is a rare gem: a fuller-bodied example hailing from the lesser-known DO Bizkaiko Txakolina­. A savory, elegant expression of this maritime terroir, this is a still wine with no effervescence. While delicious young, Berroia can age beautifully up to a decade or more.

2017 89 JS; 2015 90VM; 2013 90IWC

85% Hondarrabi Zuri, 10% Riesling, 5% Folle Blanche. Sustainably grown (certified) vines planted in 1997. Tended in limestone and sandy soil at 200 m (656 ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.

Comparable to other iconic European white wines, like Gruner or Muscadet in its weight and acidity, Berroia is a versatile wine that pairs well with difficult foods – artichokes and asparagus included! The salinity in this wine finds it locally paired with briny seafood dishes such as anchovies and oysters; for those off the beaten path, Berroia handles food with spicy heat well.

After the grapes are harvested during early morning hours in small boxes, the best clusters are selected and are macerated at 50F for 48 hours. Extended fermentation is carried out at cool temperature (64F) for 25 days to extract the richness of aroma and palate flavor contained in the lees. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks to retain its crisp fruit character and shows off the terroir.

1,500 cases

Located within the Txakolina Bizkaiko DO by Spain's Bay of Biscay, 20 miles east of Bilbao, at 200 meters (656 ft.) elevation. The vineyards are quite steep at a 12% slope and the soils drain well while giving the vines very good exposure to the sunlight. The soils are limestone on the surface with sandy subsoil, both good types in retaining heat, containing low-to-medium levels of organic matter. The climate here is northern Atlantic; with an average temperature from April-October of 59.6F. Yearly rainfall is 59.8 inches, one of the wettest regions in Spain. The cold nights and high levels of rainfall are conditions that don't allow most other grape varieties to flourish. Interestingly, the main grape in the Basque Country, the Hondarrabi (Zuri for white wines and Beltza for reds) thrives here and will not grow anywhere else.

Bright, green-hued straw. Spicy and focused on the nose, displaying fresh citrus and orchard fruit aromas and hints of honey and jasmine. Juicy and seamless in texture, offering juicy pear and tangerine flavors that tighten up on the back half. Finishes with very good persistence, leaving behind mineral and honeysuckle notes. -- Josh Raynolds.