Spain's Txacoli Wines Are What To Tap For Summer

Spain's Txacoli wines are what to tap for summer

Move over Albariño: Spain's most exciting wine right now may be Txacoli, the light, crisp whites made in the rugged Basque Country mountains.

Once compared to paint thinner and in danger of disappearing, Txacoli is undergoing a major renaissance, with a new crop of winemakers using their local grapes to make better wine.

Grown within sea-breeze distance of the Atlantic, the best Txacoli (choc-o-lee) tend to be as light and crisp as those winds, with sharp citrus flavors and mouth-wetting acidity. To accent the wines' freshness, producers capture a bit of residual CO2 in the bottle. When it's poured–especially from great heights, in great dramatic form–there's a little spritz in the wine that makes its mineral flavors dance on the tongue.

Txacoli come from three appellations, but most are low in alcohol (rarely over 11% ABV) and as refreshing as a dip in the sea. Pick up one of these bottles–there's just no better summer drinking.

2008 Gurrutxaga, Bodegas Bizkaiko Txakolina ($24) Mineral-driven, light and graceful, this bottle comes from a winery that was founded just 10 years ago (

2008 Txomin Etxaniz Getaraiko Txakolina Getaria ($20) This may be the region's best-known Txacoli. It's also one of the richest, with lots of grapey green fruit and light floral notes that soften the wine's considerable acidity (

2008 Uriondo Bizkaiko Txakolina Ibarretxe Zorriketa ($20) A touch of barrel fermentation gives this wine a juicy richness without sacrificing any of its hallmark freshness and acidity (

2008 Ameztoi Getaraiko Txakolina Rubentis ($21) Made with the red Hondarribi Beltza grape, this rosado is nearly as light and crisp as white versions, but with added strawberry and watermelon flavors. It's addictively palate-whetting, especially with pork (