Can’t pronounce Txomin Etxaniz Txakolina? Drink it anyway!

Vineyards in the Basque region.

Do you ever wonder what purpose some of your friends serve in your life? If not, you should. I happen to be lucky enough to have a very eclectic group of friends, all with their own individual quirks, personalities, humor, ambitions, knowledge and levels of loyalty. I’d say that many of my friends have inspired me in positive ways.

One in particular is nothing short of an Iron Woman, literally. When she puts her mind to something there is no looking back, no days off, no quitting. So a few years back when she decided to “walk through Spain solo for a few weeks” we all thought she was nuts. But what I didn’t know at the time was how much she would get out of this journey called the “El Camino de Santiago”, a spiritual trail for people from all walks of life that are walking for their own reasons, of which you and I should not be concerned with. They are just walking to walk…

I know what you’re all thinking. You’re assuming I was inspired to walk through Spain myself. Not exactly. I have actually been known to hike to the top of the Summit in the Berkshires and then call a cab to get back down, so no, I definitely did not feel the urge to walk through a foreign country with nothing but a knapsack on my back, some walking poles and an open heart. But I was inspired by all the stories she brought back that involved taperias and wine! She even described a fountain she came across while walking, that spouted wine instead of water. This is a true story and not a figment of my imagination. That is something I definitely need to see. I haven’t spent much time in Spain, but it is on my list for lengthy future travels. Perhaps I will eat and drink my way through Spain one day like Gwyneth and Mario.

As I plan my own viticultural “Camino”, I am drinking Txomin Etxaniz Txakolina 2010, a very refreshing dry white wine from the Basque region in Spain. The first challenge for this wine’s recognition is the name alone. Pronounced CHA-ko-LEEN-ah, it may be intimidating for the average wine consumer to try and order. Especially if you are on a date, no one wants to look like a fool. But do yourself a favor and give it a go, who cares what you sound like. A good sommelier will guide you in pronunciation and taste.

The wine comes from the Basque region which is by the sea, and you can immediately sense that while drinking the wine. Or you can just daydream that you’re sipping it by the sea like I do. It is very dry and crisp, energetic and effervescent on the palette with its slight sparkle. The nose offers citrus notes, lots of lemon and lime which are also present on the palette. Its pronounced acidity makes it very refreshing, and it reveals more hints of apple and a slight mineral quality. This unoaked wine begs to be drunk young to appreciate the fresh crisp quality. It is high in acid but low in alcohol (11%) so it’s the perfect wine to serve with just a few tapas (the acidity would pair especially nice with a few salty bites) or some fruit, but it can certainly be enjoyed with a light seafood dinner as I recently did with friends.

I enjoyed a bottle of this while dining out, but you should be able to pick it up in stores or online for around $20, which is a great value for this wine. Just being able to pronounce it next time you’re out with friends is well worth the money.


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