Perhaps one of the wines that has gained the most popularity in recent years is txakoli. This white of intense flavours has made great progress in its production techniques and is increasingly sold in other regions of Spain and the world, although it is still unknown to many enthusiasts of the wine world. To know it is to enter a long tradition, to know better what Basque cuisine can offer and to discover new flavours.

Characteristics of the txakoli

Txakoli, also called chacolí, is a white wine traditionally produced on the Basque coast of Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia. Its production extends today to other regions in the north of Spain, such as Álava, Burgos, Cantabria. The grapes used are Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza, although the latter is a minority. They are grapes that are characterized by having a certain acidity that they transmit to wine.

Practically all the production is of white wine, with a pale yellow color, generally clean and little liquor. Its aroma reminds of citrus and various flowers, resulting in fresh and light wine. It has a lower alcohol content than the average.

At present, there are three protected appellations of origin: Arabako Txakolina, Bizkaiako Txakolina and Getariako Txakolina. The first represents the txakoli produced in Álava, the second that of Bizkaia, specifically the Bakio and Balmaseda areas, and the third that is produced exclusively in Getaria, in the Zarautz and Aya areas.

History of the txakoli

The origin of txakoli is found in the Basque farmhouses: the baserris. It was a small production and dedicated to self-consumption. The first document that refers to this wine dates from the sixteenth century. It mentions the sale of txakolí in the region of Guipúzcoa. The most interesting thing is that it already has its current name.

In Bizkaia there are references to its production and commercialization in the 17th century. And in the 19th century, record productions and sales in Cantabria. It was used as a method of payment of the tithe or tax to the Church.

Tradition and great flavour

It should be noted, as a curious fact, that traditionally txakolí has shared with cider the need to be poured leaving quite distance between the glass and the bottle. Txakolí has long been a rough wine, which asked to be served in this way. Thanks to this, too intense aromas were released and more easily drunk.

However, in recent years, winemaking processes have been sophisticated to a great extent, leading to a great evolution in wine. Many wineries that make this white wine have raised txakolí the level of the best white wines.

Nowadays, it is still common that in many places, including large restaurants, the txakolí is poured in the traditional way. The debate about whether the txakolí should be served like any other wine or keep its ancient tradition, is open.

Txakoli is a wine that is making its way thanks to its qualities and its great flavor. If you have not tried it and want to increase your knowledge about the wine world, you may be missing out on a great experience difficult to imitate by other means. You dare?