Browse Tag


On the Mendi

Itsas Mendi 2009 Bizkaiko Txakolina Txakoli “Aihen” (Northwest Spain) – Heavy. I know, it seems absurd to say that about a txakoli, and of course I mean it contextually, but it is heavy. A little heavier than I’d like, frankly. Whitewashed fruit (citrus? lime and grapefruit, maybe, but so blanched it’s hard to tell) and white-walled beachfront housing – yes, I’m aware that isn’t such an easy description to understand, but it’s what this wine makes me think of – blasted by sandstone and empty wind. But it’s just too gravitic for its own good. In a lineup of, say, chardonnays, it would be biting and crisp. But in its own context, I’d prefer a little more zip. Zing. Life. Fun. Any of the above. (9/10)

Ameztoi soldiers

Amesguren “Ameztoi” 2009 Getariako Txakolina Rubentis (Northwest Spain) – Fizzy, chalky, fizzy, short, fizzy, drawing down to its finale, and fizzy. Did I mention the fizz? Bites more than purrs, nipping and snapping at every approach. (8/10)

Getariako sauce

Amesguren “Ameztoi” 2008 Getariako Txakolina Rubentis (Northwest Spain) – Full of leafy floaters – I’m assuming tartrates, but note that they don’t settle very quickly – and showing no signs of fatigue despite the precipitation. All the strawberry/strawberry leaf and zippy, fizzy punch are still present and vibrant. I often feel that this should be ladled from a large, ice-filled bowl rather than cooped up in a bottle. And I meant that affectionately. (3/10)

Ameztoi soldiers

Amesguren “Ameztoi” 2008 Getariako Txakolina Rubentis (Northwest Spain) – Airier and bonier than usual, even for a wine that defines itself by its lack of lushness. A little spritz, a brittle exterior of chilly red fruit, and a lightning-slash of acidity are about all one gets. Possibly an off-bottle. (2/10)


Txomin Etxaniz 2007 Getariako Txakolina “Getaria” (Northwest Spain) – Somewhere between perlant and pétillant, and yanking the promise of electric greenness so far to the left that the wine turns to a blinding shade of white…slashing, shocking, but never alighting. I dig it. There’s more than can be done with this grape, and I’d call this txakolina 1.5 (that is, not quite the 2.0 of Ameztoi), but even this much is awfully appealing with the right chill and the right food (saline, with a shell or carapace, and not otherwise doused with flavorants). (4/09)

Basque salad

Amesguren “Ameztoi” 2007 Getariako Txakolina (Northwest Spain) – Very spritzy and electric, but strangely vacant. It’s like a freezing wind barreling down a skyscraper wind tunnel, bringing nothing but a cold hollow to one’s bones. With a lot of air, there’s some hints of chalk and paper, but this never really develops into anything except a persistent live current. By a huge margin, the most disappointing bottle of this wine I’ve ever tasted. Hopefully just bottle variation. (3/09)

Big old txakolina, don’t carry me too far away

Arabako Txakolina 2007 Txakoli de Álava Txakoli “Xarmant” (Northwest Spain) – Filled with the spike and needle of bubbles, quite acidic, and elusive in its bare-bone, eroded-sand fashion. I love the tactility, but the wine within is a little too absent for me. (1/09)

Ameztoi story

[vineyard]Amesguren “Ameztoi” 2007 Getariako Txakolina (Northwest Spain) – How great is this wine, anyway? Citrus (mostly ripe grapefruit) with verve, vibrant acidity, makrut lime, sugar crystals without sweetness, and a healthy dollop of fun. If you don’t like this (or at least appreciate its quality), I suspect you don’t actually like wine. (5/08)