Xarmant Arabako Txakolina 2012
The winery whose name is the same as the denomination, Arabako Txakolina, was founded in 1989. Twelve growers decided to pool their resources and establish the denomination. They created a wine and named it Xarmant -which means "charming" in French (though it is spelled the Basque way).
Located in the town of Artamano, the vineyard lies in the shadows of the town of Vizkaia. This beautiful valley vineyard is located at 500 meters elevation on the border of Castilla y Leon. Here you find a unique climate, on the frontier of oceanic influence and more continental weather. This climate is humid, but the valley is blessed with near constant drying breezes that naturally limit problems in the vineyard.
The grapes used are the traditional Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza varieties that are indigenous to the Basque region, as well as the less common local varieties of Izkiriota, Izkiriota Ttippia and Hondarribi Zuri Zerratia. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and bottled with a small amount of residual carbonic. Only indigenous yeasts are used so that the grapes reflect the true qualities of the unique soil and site.
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.