Need a dose of the seaside in a glass? Try this Txacoli from Australia, guaranteed to provide immediate transportation to a crashing wave on a pebble beach.
It was a typical Scottish, ‘summer’s day’, i.e. raining and dreich, and then I drank some of this txacoli from Australia, and summer arrived in my kitchen, instantly and emphatically.
You’ll be forgiven for never having heard of it before. This is a new take on a very traditional wine, in this case, which is barely seen here. It just so happens that the traditional wine is bang on trend, albeit a very niche trend, and this is a very cool introduction to it.
Txacoli (pronounced Chack-oh-lee) is a type of wine, not a grape, made in the Basque region of Northern Spain. The region isn’t really winemaker friendly, it’s cool with lots of rainfall (sound familiar?) so the wines produced aren’t big, tropical blockbusters, but light, dry and mouthpuckeringly fresh wines. Txacoli is similar in taste and style to Vinho Verde, it is lower in alcohol than most whites, bone dry and fresh, as well as sharing Vinho Verde’s characteristic spritz in the glass. I first discovered it in a bar in Barcelona when I was slowly melting and it was the most welcome drink ever.
The twist is that this Txacoli is from Australia, made with the one of the grapes used to make the Spanish Txacolis but with a bit more sunshine to add extra fruitiness to the wine. I love it when winemakers from one place are so inspired by wines from elsewhere that they make an homage to them. Sometimes it can fall flat and be a poor replica, but here you can feel the inspiration of the winemakers, a brother and sister winemaking team and the respect they pay to the wine.
Back to my kitchen and this near seaside out of body experience… There is something about this wine that completely grabs you, from the second you smell it to long after you swallow the last drop it feels vibrant. You get a combination of peachy, summer fruit, lime zest and then a more mineral experience, like the mist from the sea washing onto a pebble beach. The spritz, which is just the merest hint, adds to that sensation, to give you the full seaside experience.
Serve it straight out of the ice bucket, and traditionally, pour it from high to get the full effect.