Posted by: tomciocco | November 23, 2010

A WHITE BASQUE GIANT

I’ve never met him, but I wouldn’t doubt it if you told me that Gorka Izagirre was a big, strapping dude. If the Txakoli he makes bears any resemblance to its creator, he must be built like a harri jasotzea  champion.  Most Txakolis fizz, and weigh in at anywhere between 10.5% to about 11.5% alcohol by volume. Mr. Izagirre’s tips the scale at 12.5% alcohol, which is the highest  figure I’ve ever seen associated with a wine made exclusively from Hondarribi Zuri (which might be the coolest grape name ever, by the way). And unlike most Txakoli, this one is dead still. But if you still want to pour it into your glass from four feet above the rim like they do in the pintxo bars in San Sebastian and Bilbao, be my guest, but the froth you might expect to appear alas will not…

Precisely why this particular example of this classic Basque wine is so broad-shouldered I can’t say for sure, but an exceptionally hot vintage, an especially sunny vineyard site, planting carefully selected clones, the utilization of bio-engineered yeasts, later harvesting or likely some combination of these factors made this wine what it is, and though I’d hate to see Txakoli lose its twangy, chalky, briney, bubble, in recent years, there have been marked and encouraging advances in the program to establish Txakoli as a more “serious” beverage, and Gorka Izagirre’s product is undoubtedly making some big footprints down this path…

Dinner consisted of a Torta de patatas (potato and onion frittata) and butterflied grilled chicken breasts marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, parsley, a little tarragon, and Piment d’Esplette, and some stewed small white beans on the side…

 

 

Gorka Izagirre Txakoli de Getaria 2009

Slightly greenish pale copper-golden color. Fascinating nose of boiled peanuts, sliced pears, hay, white flowers, and a touch of candied fennel. The wine in the mouth is fairly chewy and fleshy, while still maintaining the typical tart Txakoli minerality. The palate continues with flavors of dried herbs, toasted grains, green apple, and crystallized ginger. Admirably long finish. A slightly oddly exotic wine.

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