2021 Gaintza, Txakolina Blanco, Getariako Txakolina D.O., Spain.
Usually I wait between reviews of the same wine, but the new 2021 vintage of Gaintza is strikingly fresh and differs from the recently reviewed 2020 version, with smoked lime, fresh and steely mineral tones and tangy/tart peach leading the way here in a crisply dry, light bodied and slightly effervescent wine that almost literally screams for raw oysters on the half shell! These zingy and zesty Txakoli whites, made almost exclusively from the Hondarrabi Zuri grape, come from the Basque country on the cool Atlantic coast of Northwest Spain, not far from San Sebastian and with the terroir being made up of limestone and clay soils, that all gives these ultra pale wines their brisk and salty personality. The main areas of this Basque region include, DO Txakoli de Álava, DO Getariako Txakolina, where this wine is from, and DO Bizkaiko Txakolina, and are home to these ancient varietals, the white Hondarrabi Zuri and the red Hondarrabi Beltza, which is used in all of the wines, including sparkling, white, red and Rosé, adding complexity and structure to the Txakolina wines. This 2021 is a nice step up from the previous vintage and I highly recommend chasing it down, it will go great with sardines, mackerel and or smoked trout, as well as being a vibrant aperitif option.
As noted in my prior reviews, the Gaintza label is made by the Lazkano family, with a long history in the Getaria zone of the Getariako Txakolina region, they have 25 hectares of vineyards here in the Basque Country, that is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, and its cool maritime climate that promotes eye popping natural acidity and very ow alcohol in these wines. Interestingly enough, the Gaintza Txakolina blanco is made using 85% Hondarrabi Zuri, with its delicate herbaceous and floral character, as mentioned above, it’s the main white grape here, but it also has 10% Gros Manseng (more commonly found in France’s Basque regions!) and even 5% of the red Hondarrabi Beltza, that is directly pressed without any skin contact. In the cellar, all of the grapes are quickly direct pressed to temperature controlled stainless steel tank for fermentation where the wine captures its own CO2, which gives it that spritz. This wine was quickly bottled right after fermentation without any aging and it is meant to be drunk young. The vines, used for the Gaintza, are all hand farmed, tended and picked using sustainable methods, and average between 25 and 50 years old. Txakolina whites provide great refreshment and go sublimely with briny seafoods and pure raw fish or with picnics, with this Gaintza being a great and thrilling example to look for.
($22 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive