What's New in May

Get Your TXAK On!

One of the most interesting things about txakoli production is that it is an astonishingly modern industry. This is not to say that it has no history: quite the contrary, there is a long and illustrious history of winemaking in the Basque country. Up through the 19th century, plenty of wine was produced here, mostly red, and the wines even achieved some international renown at various points in time.

But, phylloxera decimated the industry and replanting occurred very slowly. It wasn’t until later in the 20th century that winemaking took off again, encouraged by the Basque government. And it took off in a new direction with crisp, white wines made in temperature controlled stainless steel.

All of which makes Doniene Gorrondona such an interesting winery. Founded by a trio of Bakio natives, Doniene Gorrondona bridges the gap between txakoli’s history and its modern incarnation. This is most obvious in the Gorrondona Tinto, a red wine made from a pre-phylloxera plot of Hondarribi Beltza that was planted 150 years ago. Bringing back the winemaking traditions of times past, this spicy, herbal tinto, with its vivid red fruit and taut minerality, is a direct connection to the history of the area. The 2012 vintage is landing this month.

The winery also produces two whites in the modernized, traditional farmhouse that serves as a production facility. The newest introduction to the lineup is the Gorrondona Blanco 2012. Made from a blend of 85% Hondarribi Zuri, 3% Hondarribi Beltza, and 12% Mune Mahatsa, fermented with indigenous yeast, the Gorrondona Blanco is a pure expression of the Bakio valley terroir with its tangy, sea breeze qualities.

Txakoli season is upon us. With warming weather and txakoli parties coming to a town near you now is the time get your TXAK on. Look for txakoli parties in Boston, Durham and New York City within the month and look for more later this summer.