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

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

camino-frances-la-rioja-caminoways Do you ever wonder what purpose some of your friends serve in your life? If not, you should. I am lucky enough to have a very eclectic group of friends, all with their quirks, personalities, humour, 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. When she puts her mind to something, there is no looking back, no days off, and 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 I didn’t know 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 walking for their reasons, 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 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 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 encountered while walking that spouted wine instead of water. This is a true story and not a figment of my imagination. That is something I 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 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 favour 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 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 as I do. It is scorched, crisp, energetic, and effervescent on the palate with its slight sparkle. The nose offers citrus notes and lots of lemon and lime, which are also on the palette. Its pronounced acidity makes it very refreshing, revealing hints of apple and slight mineral quality. This unoaked wine begs you 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 lovely with a few salty bites) or some fruit. Still, 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 an excellent value for this wine. Being able to pronounce it next time you’re out with friends is well worth the money.

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