Are you already a txakolí lover or is it still a stranger to you? If you want to discover txakolí or just take a closer look at it, we propose to you a route of Alava’s Txakolí in which you could savour this delicious wine in its original atmosphere. Alava’s Txakolí comes from the historic Ayala Valley; which has been a strategic territory for many centuries because the Camino Real passes through it.This road connected the market of the Consulate of Burgos with the ports of first Bermeo and then Bilbao and most of the wool, iron, and other merchandise of the flourishing international trade passed through it. All this traffic produced toll incomes, overnight stays and storage for the owners of the area; this explains why Ayala Valley was the origin of the Ayalas, one of the lineage of nobles that had a heavy influence in the history of the kingdom of Castile during the Late Middle Ages. Do not miss visiting Kexaa – Quejana, the small town where the palace and museum of this family is located. Since many people passed through its valley for many centuries, the Alava’s txakolí has been appreciated for much longer than the one from Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa.
This Basque wine stands out for its acidity and its carbonaceous characteristics in the mouth. Its strong flavor was the reason why, in past centuries, the txakolí of Álava was not the favorite wine of the Basques; many were fans of the Rioja Alavesa. But the events that motivated the replacement of their vine and an improvement in quality have given it a great popularity.
The municipalities in which this Designation of Origin is implanted are: the historical ‘capital’ of Aiara – Ayala, in the industrious localities of Amurrio and Laudio – Llodio, in Okondo and in the medieval village Artziniega. All of them are located in the northern area of the historic territory of Álava (bordering on Bizkaia) and the western part (bordering on Burgos). In addition to its limestone soil, it is distinguished from other Alava wines by a continental – mediterranean climate that is drier and colder than the one of the Rioja alavesa. The harvesting period is usually done in the first half of October.
The main varieties of the native vine are the “Hondarribi Beltza” and the “Hondarribi Zuri.” The Alava’s Txakolí (in Basque Arabako Txakolina and the name of the DO) has a color that varies from pale yellow to greenish or straw yellow, with bright tones. In its intense aroma the fruity notes predominate, while the herbaceous and floral notes are more subtle. The taste in the mouth is fresh and slightly acidic.
In the región of Ayala, there are several wine cellars that produce Alava’s txakolí and allow visits, as is usual. Here we mention some of the most recommended stopping points of the Txakolí Route, an itinerary that takes place through vineyards and allows you to taste and buy this Basque gastronomic product.
In the southern area of the territory, in the vicinity of the Biscayan enclave of Orduña is Artomaña, with a wine cellar that shares the name of the town. Artomaña Txakoliña has been directed by the same family for three generations. With the grape of the native variety “Hondarrabi Zuri” they make a white txakolí with an alcohol content around 12º. It has a fresh, bright and fruity character, and is sold under the brand “Eukeni.“ Because of its elements of acidity and freshness it is recommended to accompany white meats, fish and seafood. It is also common to drink it as an aperitif, as a companion to the delicious pintxos of the area.
Still a little further south, in Délika, there is a farmhouse that is the origin of this wine cellar, which gives its product a traditional character. With the objective of practically not intervening in the elaboration process, its owners get the best qualities of the grape. Its three vineyards are located in areas with a microclimate suitable for the cultivation of txakolí: cold winters where the snow days, damp and mild springs and cool summers stand out.
In the north of the territory, in the municipality of Laudio – Llodio you will find the Beldui Txakolina wine cellar. Its wine is golden lemon, with a considerable and clean intensity. It has aromas of exotic and white fruit, such as custard apple and pineapple. The pippin apple is also obvious in its flavors, as well as notes of infusion and spring water. They have six productions of varied flavors; the one described is one of them.
To the east of Laudio – Llodio is Okondo, a town where the Señorío de Astobiza wine cellar is located. This company combines modern facilities with a traditional production of grapes, as they are concerned about treating each bunch as delicately as possible.
If you want to see maps and other information about Alava txakolí, click here (here link to txakolí alavés).