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Details for Hiruzta, Txakolin ‘Berezia’

Basque Country
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AppellationDO Getariako Txakolina
Hondarrabi Zuri / Courbu Blanc
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Hiruzta Bodega
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Basque Country

The Basque Country (Pais Vasco in Spanish, Euskadi in Basque) is located on Spain’s northern coast, adjacent to the border with France.
The climate is maritime, being heavily influenced by the Atlantic waters of the Bay of Biscay.  It’s cool by Spanish standards, with high humidity, lots of year-round rainfall, and less seasonal variation than found inland.  It shares these traits with regions like Muscadet in France, Rias Baixas in Spain, and Vinho Verde in Portugal, and produces similar wines: pale, very dry, searingly sharp, low in alcohol, often with a slight spritz, and a natural choice for seafood.
There are just three tiny D.O.s in the region, all with Txakolina in their name.  The wine they produce is called Txakoli, meaning “village wine” and can be red, white or rosé.  Most today is white, though in the past they were mainly red.  Some red is still produced today: it resembles red vinho verde, being pale and very sharp.

Hiruzta Bodega

Hiruzta is the creation of the Rekalde family: father Asensio and his two sons Txarli and Angel.  The winery name is a contraction of hiruren uzta, which means “a three-person harvest” in Basque.  They planted their first vines in 2007, when the expansion of the Getariako Txakolina D.O. to include the whole of Gipuzkoa province made it possible to produce txakoli around Honarribia once more.  The winemaking tradition here had been lost in the 17th Century, despite Hondarribia having given its name to several Basque grape varieties.
Hiruzta’s first vintage, the 2011, was released in 2012.  Their wines have been consistent award-winners ever since.  Their 11 hectares of vines occupy south-facing slopes behind the Jaizkibel cliffs, an unusually favoured location in the very north-facing Basque Country whose mountains drop steeply into the Bay of Biscay.  The cliffs protect the vines from the worst of the Atlanic weather, which combined with the south-facing aspect produces wines that are rather fuller than is usual for txakoli.
They produce two main wines: a mainstream white called simply Hiruzta, which is light and frothy in typical txakoli fashion; and a premium, lees-aged cuvée called Berezia, which isn’t.  Both are made mainly from Hondarrabi Zuri, blended with a little Gros Manseng (called Izkiriota Handia in Basque) for aroma.  Supplementing these are a bottle-fermented fizz, made again from Hondarrabi Zuri, and a rosé made from a blend of ’Zuri with the local black grape Hondarrabi Beltza.

about this wine About this wine

Berezia is Hiruzta’s premium wine, and comes from perfectly-sited, south-facing vineyards that achieve unheard-of ripeness levels for this cool and cloudy region.  Most txakoli is just 10 or 11% ABV; this one is 13.5%.
It’s made from grapes picked later than Hiruzta’s regular txakoli, which is still stronger than most at 11.5%.  Late picking was particularly beneficial in 2014, a cool and wet year saved by a long fine autumn.  It also contains a higher proportion of the aromatic and spicy Gros Manseng, grape: 15% (the maximum allowed by D.O. rules) compared to 5% in the regular bottling, with the rest being Hondarrabi Zuri.
The grapes were hand-picked at optimal ripeness into small crates to avoid damage to the bunches.  At the winery they were destemmed and lightly crushed before undergoing a cold soak on the skins at 8 to 10°C, to extract aromas and flavours.  The juice was then racked off and fermented with cultured yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel at a coolish 16 to 18°C.  The wine was aged in tank on its lees for four months, with weekly batonnage (lees-stirring), to add body and complexity.  Before bottling it was fined, cold-stabilised and gently filtered, so it shouldn’t throw a sediment.

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