Friday, July 18, 2014

Pour me, pour, pour me... From way up high - Txakoli!

I was recently reading an article by Luis Gutiérrez, wine critic for Robert Parker, which talked about the Txakoli or Txakolina (pronounced Chacoli) wine that is found in northern Spain in and around San Sebastian and Bilbao. 

Txakoli is a slightly sparkling, high acid wine that is served in virtually every Tapas bar in the region. Its low alcohol and high acidity make a perfect pairing for the foods of the Basque region. Aynone that has had the opportunity to visit the area will remember a few things. First and foremost, the FOOD! Each Tapas bar has a signature item on their bar along with perhaps a few dozen other selections. A tapas crawl, as they are called, can take up much of your night as you and your group meander from one bar to the next enjoying the delicacies that each new place offers.

The constant at each of these bars are two things. First, the quality and diversity of snacks is top notch at every stop. There is an unspoken competition for innovative and delicious foods that vary at each stop. Many of the foods look the same and even taste similarly but each house has a slightly different spin on the recipe it seems. 

Second, and perhaps most consistant is the wine called TXAKOLI! 

If its your first visit you will be immediately taken by the strange way they pour this unique wine (See pictures). The men and women behind the bar are all pouring this unique wine from way up above their heads and the glass that they are pouring it into is down there on the bar or they are holding it down next to his or her waist?! "What is going on here" you might ask yourself.

Why aren't they pouring this into the glass the way the rest of the world does? 

Is it some sort of a show? Are they supposed to be imitating Tom Cruise from the movie "Cocktail"?

What is all the pageantry about? It all seems so purposeful...

And what is that little plastic thing at the top of the bottle?

The truth is that there is alot happening here so we'll let you in on all of it.

The reason that it is being poured from so high up is undoubtably in part for the show and pageantry of it. Many of the men and women that serve their guests have a bit of a show that comes along with the glass of wine. I have seen it poured from up as high as the server could reach into a glass all the way down on the floor, Behind the back, Glass by the hip and the bottle drawn away from it like he was unholstering a sword, and as simple as a foot or two above the bar and straight down into the glass. Some of it is the show.

The purpose is the same no matter which way it is poured however and that is to force air into the wine and create a light froth on top. It sort of wakes the wine up and makes it snappy. Generally the size of the pour is just a couple of ounces and is just enough for one or two Tapas before contiuing your crawl. The wine is perfect for food as the acidity and the bubbles in the wine cleanses your palate for the next taste and keeps it refreshed by continually refreshing it. The low alcohol means that on a long Tapas crawl, you are not actually crawling back to your room at the end of the night two sheets to the wind.

Summer is a great time to experience this wine for many of these reasons. Lighter, smaller foods as we congregate in the back yard or on the patio. Foods coming off of the grill and evenings spent with friends socializing. We are not all as experienced as the servers in San Sebastian so as we learn the correct pouring technique, a little spill on the grass or the patio is less a faux pas. 

Give it a try and wow your friends with this fun wine and its uniqueness while the weather is right and people are gathering to eat, drink and socialize.


Ps. That thing at the top of the bottle... A pourer. It helps to control the flow and keeps the messiness under control. 

No comments:

Post a Comment