Xarmant Arabako Txakolina 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
On the southern edge of the rocky Bay of Biscay in northern Spain, this is Basque country and home to the refreshing and slightly effervescent (usually) white wine, Txakoli. Three subregions compose the larger one: Getariako Txakolina, Bizkaiko Txakolina and Arabako Txakolina. While Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza are the main grape varieties, other French varieties are scattered throughout the region.
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.