Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hondarribi Beltza

That's the grape used in red txacoli, and the grape used to make the 2005 Talai Berri Txacolina Beltza which I enjoyed last night. It's a cool little wine. Definitely its own thing, though if one had to compare it tastes very much of the Cabernet family with a strong green peppercorn note on the nose and curranty fruit. The floral aspects of the wine on the palate, as well as the acidity, remind me more of Loire valley Cab Franc than anything else, certainly more than any Mencia I've had, which is the Spanish grape most widely compared to Cab Franc. Just like most white Txacoli, this vinito had a slight pettilance to it, which I enjoy in red wines (as long as it is a subtle aspect and the flavors taste as they should, it indicates that a touch of CO2 was left in the bottle from the fermentation, which often times means that a minimum of sulphur was used prior to bottling. A good thing).

My brother and I had this with one of my favorite French cheeses - Ossau-Iraty, the Basque country sheep's cheese. It was good and dry, crumbly, pleasantly earthy, dusty and sheepy. We also had it with a chipotle rubbed steak salad, with sauteed mushrooms and a simple olive oil, lemon and shallot dressing. With lots of parsley. One of the things I love about Basque cooking (not that this was at all a traditional Basque dish) is the parsley. I'll have to make some parsleyed potatoes and maybe a nice piece of fish tonight to go with the remaining txacolina in my fridge.