Guipuzcoa, in the Getaria subregion of the Spanish Basque country, is a surfer’s paradise. Long, rolling tubes and pristine beaches attract paddlers from all over the world to soak up the salt and sun, in search of the perfect ride. When they come ashore to refuel, very often they are pouring glasses of Txakolina, the refreshing effervescent indigenous wine of the Basque country. Bodega Gaintza is among the most popular, and with its vineyards situated on the bluffs overlooking the bay in Guipuzcoa, it is a wine that is unmistakably of this place. Gaintza, meaning “on top of,” refers to the aspect of the winery that was built in 1923 overlooking the bay in Guipuzcoa. Light, bright, refreshing… this is a bottle for seaside enjoyment, if there ever was such a thing. In addition to its stylistic appeal, this is a meticulously crafted, 100% estate grown wine from 40+ year old vines – a good deal more serious than much of what comes from this popular appellation.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? From 100% estate-grown indigenous varieties Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza, as well as the maritime variety Gros Manseng, this is a classic Getaria-style Txakolina, with light efferevescence and brilliant, refreshing acidity. Low in alcohol, this is beach wine par excellence.
RATING HISTORY: Not yet rated
GRAPE: 85% Hondarrabi Zuri, 10% Gros Manseng, 5% Hondarrabi Beltza. Sustainably farmed vines planted in 1978 to clay and limestone soils, at 75m (246 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Gaintza’s low alcohol, effervescence and bright acidity make it a wonderful aperitif on its own, but it would be beautiful with shellfish, shrimp, and fried seafood.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel, with 24 hour maceration. 45 day, slow fermentation, with no malolactic. Aged for 8 months on the lees in stainless steel. Bottled at 0 degrees of natural sugar. Natural carbonation from finished fermentation in bottle.
PRODUCTION: 11,100 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Gaintza is located in the Getaria subzone of the Spanish Basque country, on the Cantabrian coast. Vineyards are planted between 150 and 500 meters from the ocean, at 75 meters elevation on the bluffs overlooking the water. Soils are limestone and clay. Fairly constant temperature with little diurnal variation due to proximity to the ocean. Warm during the growing season, with average temperature of 61F (16C). Rainfall is plentiful, averaging 13mm/month from April to October.
TASTING NOTES: Bright green-yellow. On the nose, high toned aromas of lemon, quince, green apple and sorrel are overlaid with sea spray and stony mineral notes. On the palate, puckering acidity and effervescence lend a practically gulpable appeal, with bright meyer lemon, apple and green herbs. Finishes salty and clean, begging for another sip.