This is Txakoli – the famous Basque wine – with a difference. Most often an ephemeral, spritzy thirst quencher, here Taxakoli finds its more serious side.
Juanjo Tallaetxe is 45 years old, and worked as a priest and shepherd – a real man of the earth – until a few years ago when he left to manage his family vineyards. He’s based in the southern part of Txakoli, south of Bilbao, right up in the hills in Orduna in the Arabako Valley. He began making his wines in 2017.
Viticulture is uncertified organic, and the grape varieties grown are Hondarribi Zuri (Corbu Blanc), Hondarribi Zerratia (Petit Corbu), Riesling and Hondarribi Beltza.
Tantaka Arabako Txakolina 2019 Txakoli de Álava, Spain
100% Hondarribi Zuri. The vineyards are planted on the alluvial, clay soils over limestone in Artómaña (Arrastaria Valley-Álava). 11 year old vines, fermented and aged on lees in stainless steel. Very fine and delicate with a hint of mint and some spice. This has a lovely precision: fine, mineral and salty with a bit of weight. It isn’t ephemeral: there’s good concentration and a lovely acid line. Lean but with wonderful tension. 93/100
Tantaka Diapiro Amber Capsule 2019 Txakoli de Álava, Spain
80% Hondarribi Zuri, 20% Ondarrabi Zuri and Hondarribi Zerratia (Petit Courbu). Vineyards are in three parcels (Belandika, Itxolo and Cementerio) located in Artómaña and Délika. 13.5% alcohol. Stainless steel ferment and ageing on lees until May. Stony and mineral with good acidity. Textured with a nice mineral quality: there’s a juicy edge to the fruit. Very fine and expressive, and quite stony. 91/100
Tantaka Diapiro Verde Capsule 2019 Txakoli de Álava, Spain
90% Hondarribi Zuri, 10% Riesling. Vineyards are in two parcels (Belandika, and Itxolo) located in Artómaña and Délika respectively. Stainless steel. Nutty, waxy and appley with a citrus core and a hint of honey. There’s a lovely mineral core to this wine, which is distinctive, with a lovely focus. 91/100
UK agent is Carte Blanche