Skip to main content

Spain’s Txakoli Wine is a Perfect Summer Sipper

In wine, there are several fine summer options for all-day sipping. One of the better options is Txakoli, the refreshing Spanish white built for hot weather and hangouts that start around lunch and wind down sometime during the wee hours.

The dry white hails from the Basque region of Spain. It tends to be low-ABV, with a slight sparkle and ample acidity. In its homeland, Txakoli is enjoyed with pintxos, the skewered Spanish snacks consisting of bread and things like fish, stuffed peppers, and croquettes.

The name alone should attract attention, yet Txakoli has always had a few marketing issues. Basque country is very much on its own orbit, with its own language and independent customs. It’s also called Chacholí and Txakolina, derived from words that loosely translate to things like “watery wine” (although that name may have as much to do with the wet climate as the low-alcohol nature of the stuff) or “farm wine.” Not necessarily built for the sales floor, but it sure can be given the proper context.

For our purposes, let’s focus on the coolness of having the letter x in your name, a real rarity in wine. In Basque, the “tx” essentially makes a “ch” sound. Then there’s the fact that the wine is remarkably refreshing, made from indigenous grapes with equally cool names like Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza. Historically, it was made in large wood vessels called foudres. The latest couple of generations of Txakoli producers have opted for the leanness that comes with stainless steel.

There are three main regions in which Txakoli is crafted. Moving west-to-east, they are Alavan, Biscayan, and Getaria. They’re all influenced by the ocean, with the Bay of Biscay resting just to the north. Some are a bit more protected by hillsides than others and the range of microclimates here is impressive. For much of its history, Txakoli was produced at home for use among friends and family, short-poured into simple cups and enjoyed in fishing villages and farm towns throughout the area.

In the 1980s, regional status came about and an overseas market emerged. In the early 2000s, industry types, ever eager to discover something different, arrived at the Spanish wine and began drawing more attention its way.

The wine is enjoyed in its youth and rarely cellared. It’s a bit like Methode Ancestrale wines and is ever so refreshing. There are occasional rosé and even red versions of Txakoli, but the lion’s share is white. It doesn’t have its own Riedel glass or references in New World music, but Txakoli deserves a special place in your heart, especially during the thirstier stretches of summer.

Here are five to sip on right now:

Doniene Gorrondona 2017 Txakoli Ondarea

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Made with a bit of oak influence, this Txakoli is quite captivating. Made entirely from Hondarrabi Zuri, it shows zest and tart fruit, rounded out by some time in oak.

Inazio Urrozola 2018 Txakolina

Inazio Urrozola 2018 Txakolina
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This tasty riff comes from a history estate dating back to the mid-14th century. Sustainably farmed fruit leads to a zippy wine with flavors containing bountiful lemon and lime notes.

Bodega Ulacia Txakolina

Bodega Ulacia Txakolina
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Fit with the perfect effervescent kick, this wine shows lots of tropical fruit. Simply put, it’s the ultimate antidote to a sweltering mid-summer heatwave.

Berroia 2018 Txakolina 

Berroia 2018 Txakolina
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Made with a bit of Riesling, this wine is slightly deeper and richer, offering some honeycomb and dried fruit qualities. Enjoy it with some butter clams or, better yet, conserva.

Rezabal Getariako 2019 Txakolina Rosé

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’re looking for a nice pink option, here it is. The wine comes from a family-owned operation in Zarautz and offers beautiful color as well as enticing flavors of wild strawberries.

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
My Favorite Neighbor is changing up the artisan wine game
A bottle of My Favorite Neighbor wine next to a glass with casks in the background.

This content was produced in partnership with My Favorite Neighbor.
Think back to the last time you were perusing the shelves of your local store for your next bottle of wine. You certainly looked at the different types of wine, and probably paid some attention to which part of the world this or that bottle came from -- but how much did you think about the vineyards, their farming practices, and the people making the wine? My Favorite Neighbor is cultivated from the idea that winemaking should focus on community and wellness as well as quality, with the result being artisan wines without prohibitive pricing or pretense.
Shop Wine

My Favorite Neighbor was established in 2006 with an emphasis on organic farming methods, pure wine with no additives, community investment, and environmentally-conscious farming. Farmer-winemaker Eric Jensen named the wine after his neighbor and mentor, winemaker Stephan Asseo of L'Aventure Winery. Every time Jensen would call his friend, Asseo would answer and refer to himself as Eric's "favorite neighbor." Since then, one neighbor has become many, and My Favorite Neighbor now partners with neighboring "A+" vineyards to source the grapes for its wine.

Read more
The Piña Colada Should Be Your Summer Cocktail
Pina Colada stand in Puerto Rico

If there is one cocktail that has the innate ability to pluck you from the stress of everyday life and drop you onto a tropical island, it would be the Piña Colada. Close your eyes, take a sip, and instantly see yourself walking down a beautiful white sand beach in Puerto Rico wearing short shorts and an unbuttoned white linen shirt living your best Ricky Martin fantasy. Just the mere mention of the drink can conjure thoughts of tiny umbrellas and even tinier bathing suits.

According to legend, the drink was born in 1952 at the Caribe Hilton in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico by head bartender Ramon Marrero Perez. Mr. Perez blended up a winner for decades for sun-bathers and vacation-goers alike. Eventually the drink made its way outside of Puerto Rico and things started to go downhill. Unfortunately, the '70s happened and people were sold sugary abominations that strayed far from the original cocktail. A product of the blender boom, this classic cocktail was relegated to poolside bars and booze cruises. The Piña Colada became the stereotypical drink of choice for tourists visiting anything even remotely resembling an island or coastal destination. The Margaritaville resident proudly sporting cargo shorts & a fanny-pack eschewing local eateries for the travel agent-approved TGI McFunsters.

Read more
The Most Influential Black Voices in Wine
Simonne Mitchelson profile pic on Jackson Family Wine Facebook.

Wine is not fair. Despite a diverse American population, only roughly 1 in every 1,000 winemakers in this country is Black. The percentages are a little better for the industry at large, but not by much. The wine tides are changing, thankfully, but there's much work to be done in the name of creating an inviting, diverse, and dynamic community.

The drinks industry is evolving and there are more and more Black voices entering the conversation. Wine has been particularly slow to shift, perhaps because it's always been so bound to tradition and has a history of elitism. Fortunately, it's shifting towards a younger, broader core audience, just ask boxed wine and Pinot Gris in a can. A major part of that shift involves having the wine scene actually reflect the landscape it inhabits.

Read more