Berroia is an estate-bottled wine made by Bodegas Berroja in the Txacoli de Bizkaia DO. Txakoli wines have a slightly "spritzy" effervescent character similar to vinho verde from Portugal but whereas the latter are light wines with fresh, clean flavors and bright acidity, Txacolis have more complex aromas and depth of flavor on the palate along with a firm minerality that is their signature. The name Berroia refers to the area where the estate vineyards are located. Three Spanish DO regions in Spain produce Txacoli wines in the Basque country: Txakoli de Guetaria, Txacoli de Bizkaia and Txakoli de Alava. There are two Txakoli styles: a cider style and still wine style. Both styles are made with the Hondarribi grape but one is more cider-like than the other. The still wine shows the vibrancy and depth of the Hondarrabi grape. The cider style has a life span of about 6 months while the stll wine style develops for about 14-16 months. Berroia is made in the still wine style.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Low alcohol full-bodied Txakoli. Nervy and electric in character. Stainless steel fermentation; estate-owned fruit; aged for more than 4-6 months. Great Value! It pairs extremely well with oysters, grilled seafood, asparagus, anchovies and artichokes. This Txakoli can also age.
RATING HISTORY: 2015 90VM; 2013 90IWC; 2012 90IWC; 2011 92IWC; 2010 90IWC; 2009 90WA;
GRAPE: 85% Hondarrabi Zuri, 10% Riesling, 5% Folle Blanche. Sustainably grown (certified) vines planted in 1997. Tended in limestone and sandy soil at 200 m (656 ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Aside from pairing extremely well with oysters, grilled seafood, asparagus, anchovies and artichokes, this fresh, bright wine is a great foil to Indian curries, Thai and Vietnamese dishes and Chinese dim sum with a little heat.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: After the grapes are harvested during early morning hours in small boxes, the best clusters are selected and are macerated at 50F for 48 hours. Extended fermentation is carried out at cool temperature (64F) for 25 days to extract the richness of aroma and palate flavor contained in the lees. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks to retain its crisp fruit character.
PRODUCTION: 1,500 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Located within the Chacoli de Bizkaia/Bizkaiko Txakolina DO (Zone 3) by Spain's Bay of Biscay, and 20 miles east of Bilbao, the vineyards are outside the town of Muxika, at 200 meters (656 ft.) elevation. The vineyards are quite steep at a 12% slope and the soils drain rather well while giving the vines very good exposure to the sunlight. The soils are composed of limestone on the surface with sandy subsoil, both good types in retaining heat, containing low-to-medium levels of organic matter. The climate here is northern Atlantic; with an average temperature from April-October of 59.6F. Yearly rainfall is 59.8 inches, clearly one of the wettest regions in Spain. The disconcertingly cold nights and high levels of rainfall are conditions that don't allow most other grape varieties to flourish. Interestingly, the main grape in the Basque Country, the Hondarribi (Zuri for white wines and Beltza for reds) thrives here and will not grow anywhere else.
TASTING NOTES: Bright, green-hued straw. Spicy and focused on the nose, displaying fresh citrus and orchard fruit aromas and hints of honey and jasmine. Juicy and seamless in texture, offering juicy pear and tangerine flavors that tighten up on the back half. Finishes with very good persistence, leaving behind mineral and honeysuckle notes. -- Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold