Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina 2013
Ameztoi is a renowned producer in Getariako Txakolina, respected for producing both traditional wines in large barrels, and as an innovator for their rosé txakolina and méthode traditionnelle sparkling wines. Ameztoi owns twenty hectares of estate vineyards located in the most privileged position in the region, facing the Bay of Biscay. High in the vineyards, planted on the dramatic seaside cliffs of the ancient fishing village of Getaria, one can see the town of San Sebastian, which lies just twenty minutes away along a serpentine highway.
Ignacio Ameztoi is the fifth generation of his family to carry on the tradition of making txakolina in the province of Getaria, and he has played a key role in the advancement of the region in the last decade. His intuitive and fearless pursuit of innovation has been a driving force in the txakolina discipline. Ameztoi Txakolina is traditionally built with high acidity and low alcohol, utilizing only native varieties hondarrabi zuri and hondarrabi beltza. The wine is fermented in refrigerated stainless steel tanks utilizing indigenous yeasts from the vineyard. The tanks are closed to preserve natural carbonation from fermentation, which is the preferred style of Getaria. The tanks are kept chilled to near 32 degrees Fahrenheit before bottling, which preserves the wine’s delicate, effervescent character and signature mousse. These attributes are unattainable through shortcuts such as force-carbonation, which Ameztoi has never employed. The iconic Rubentis rosé is a field blend of hondarrabi zuri and hondarrabi beltza varieties, which are co-fermented for three weeks. When most local wineries gave up on the indigenous red hondarrabi beltza vines, the Ameztoi family retained their old vines, which gives their rose exceptional vibrancy and complexity. Rubentis, the region’s first pink wine, was inspired by the historic claret style wines which were once produced in the area long before the current global craze made rosé famous. The backbone of the blend comes from a hondarrabi beltza vineyard planted in 1840, preserved by the Ameztoi family for generations. Ignacio Ameztoi has also continued to innovate with his exploration of méthode traditionnelle sparkling wines, led by his Hijo de Rubentis, a sparkling rosé from old-vine hondarrabi beltza grapes. His inspiration to use his area’s signature low alcohol and refreshing acidity as an ally to craft exceptional bottle-fermented sparkling wines has resulted in new possibilities for the region. Txakoli is more than a wine with its own personality, it is the continuation of a centuries-old tradition cultivated along the Basque coast. This tradition is manifested in Ameztoi’s Primus cuvée, which utilizes a selection of their best hondarrabi zuri grapes, resulting in a traditional, deeply satisfying wine which conveys the gravity of the Basque culinary heritage. As with all Ameztoi bottlings, quality of ingredients and respect for their region is the driving force behind their approach.
Known for bold reds, crisp whites and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place primary emphasis on its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally hot and dry. In the center of the country lies a vast, arid plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought.
Ribera del Duero is gaining ground with its single varietal Tempranillo wines, recognized for their concentration of fruit and opulence. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, specializes in bold, full-bodied red blends of Garnacha (Grenache), Cariñena (Carignan), and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.