2021 Alfredo Egia, Izaki “Creature” Bizkaiko Txakolina, Basque White White, Spain.
The Alfredo Egia Izaki Creature is a very unique version of Bizkaiko Txakolina, not made from the classic, lighter and crisper 100% Hondarribi Zuri grape versions, but rather Petit Courbu and Gros Courbu grapes and mostly fermented and aged in old 400L puncheon style barrels, making for a more vinous and textural white that has an almost phenolic/tannic grip and a rustic personality in the glass. The 2021 Izaki is yellow/gold in hue and has a stony nose with hints of straw, quince and a waxy quality before a medium bodied and dusty dry palate of grilled lemon, muskmelon, apricot and bitter peach pit, along with almond, wet stones, saline (seashore), a whiff of old wood, verbena and snappy herbs. There’s a feel of skin contact and a vibrant sense of fresh acidity to add an inner brightness and this wine begs for food to show its best side, in particular goat cheese and or briny/salty sea food dishes. This white was allowed to go through natural Malo-lactic fermentation and the used French barrels were topped up to preserve vitality and more reductive style, but remains more firm than creamy.

Alfredo Egia sources the grapes, 80% Petit Courbu and 20% Gros Courbu, from mainly his biodynamic vineyard along with a smaller parcel of organic vines under conversion to biodynamics, in the Txacolí de Bizkaia DOP zone, which was created in 1994 and covers around 250 hectares of vineyards. This coastal area has an Atlantic influence and set on mainly acidic clay based soils with limestone and marls also present. Elia employed a whole cluster pressing with most of the juice being racked to barrel for fermentation, while a smaller percentage saw fermentation and aging in stainless steel, with the wine blended after about 9 months on the lees and the final blend is rested a further 6 months in tank before bottling. Petit Courbu is a Basque white wine grape originally from the Gascony region of France with a long history in the region, and is found in the Spanish Basque region, as seen here, making for a richer bodied wine. Gros Courbu, which is also is itself also thought to be from France, as it is found in Irouléguy, shares DNA with Hondarribi Zuri, which is super fresh and adds vivacious personality to the wine. This wine is quite different and distinct with a serious, slightly earthy rustic nature, made to age and I was quite impressed and look forward to trying the rest of Egia’s wines.
($39 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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