Gaintza, Txakoli 2013, Spain
Txakoli? There's every chance the name of this Spanish wine will be unfamiliar - unless, that is, you are a regular visitor to Spain's Basque country up around Bilbao and San Sebastian, up near the French border and northern Spanish coastline on the Atlantic. The wines have rarely been seen outside the area, but that is changing gradually as they are finding real support, with British and US wine lovers beginning to discover their charms. Txakoli (pronounced Chack-oh-lee) is the local wine, made mostly from the equally unpronounceable Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza, and coming mostly as a white wine - though red, pink and sparkling versions do exist.
In fact the traditional style of these wines - always dry and licked by the tang of the sea - is to have a slight spritz on the tongue. They are not sparkling wines as such, but have a delicate effervescence that adds to their super-bright, punchy and vivacious appeal.
This wine is a white blend of the two Hondarrabis plus some Gros Manseng. It bursts with gloriously fresh lemon and fresh-cut apple aromas. There is a touch of green herbs, of dill perhaps, but this is all about that stunning freshness. There is that gentle fizz on the tongue, but then the acidity and the nervous energy of the wine streaks through, edged by salty minerals, that pure zesty lemon and loads of clean apple crispness. Txakoli is heaven-sent when drunk with seafood, shellfish and white fish, and though the abundant freshness and dry acidity might not be for everyone, it is lip-smacking, fantastically bracing stuff. Around £11.99 from independent merchants (many of which offer online ordering) including Corks of Cotham and The Fine Wine co., but see all stockists on wine-searcher.