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The designation of origin Chacolí de Bizkaia – Bizkaiko Txakolina was born in 1994 with the aim of advertising, enhancing and protecting the wine of this region, the result of the Atlantic viticulture of native vines.
Bizkaia is a territory of great historical importance, located in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country. It is therefore located in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, on the coast of the Cantabrian Sea.
Despite being an area with strong industrial and urban development, agriculture has managed to maintain an important space thanks to the commitment of a group of farmers who have worked with perseverance to preserve traditional crops and to recognize their quality. One of the peculiar and traditional products is wine, popularly known as “TXAKOLI”.
Let’s find out more from the words of Maider Zalduondo, communication officer of D.O. Chacolí de Bizkaia – Bizkaiko Txakolina.
Since the birth of D.O. Bizkaiko Txakolina, what goals have been achieved and which remain to be achieved?
In the first years since the creation of the D.O. the goal was to recover, enhance and give continuity to the region’s wine tradition, contributing to the sustainability of our rich rural environment.
Many things have changed since the creation of that first Regulation and the D.O. Bizkaiko Txakolina, in 1994. The knowledge and experience acquired in these almost three decades have allowed a notable increase in the expertise and professionalization of the producers. They now know perfectly well the interaction between the grape varieties they have planted and the climate that affects their different plots. They have delved into the study of what grapes in a suitable state of maturity can offer in the different styles of wines they produce, without losing the typicality of our terroir and varieties, and they face a market that knows and recognizes the new reality of Biscay wines.
We have worked on the recovery of the vineyard, growing from 52 to 430 hectares of vineyard in the last 30 years and reaching a sufficient size to be able to operate in the wine world.
Among the pending objectives would be to improve the financial capacity of the wineries, which, being small and medium-sized projects with a small-scale economy, are greatly affected by the crises that have occurred in recent years.
Another of the goals we are currently working on is the development of a wine tourism network in the territory. Many of our wineries offer quality food and wine experiences and work is being done to improve and promote these services.
What are the peculiarities of the territory and its wines?
Bizkaia is a territory located in the North of the Iberian Peninsula, adjacent to the Cantabrian Sea. It has an Atlantic, humid and temperate climate. Its orography is mountainous, with elevations of medium altitude. These characteristics mean that the elaborated txakolis have a characteristic balanced acidity and more subtle and complex aromatic notes.
The vineyard is present throughout the entire geography of Bizkaia.
Plantations can be found both in areas very close to the coastline, as well as in interior valleys, or on the slopes of mid-altitude mountains, a rich variety of areas and locations that provide peculiar characteristics to the txakoli produced, although within the same common line established by the Denomination of Origin.
In all cases, we will find vineyards in well-oriented situations, with a good exposure at noon, on a hillside, well drained and aerated.
The vineyard surfaces are small and low yields per hectare are cultivated, around 6,500kg/ha, always prioritizing quality over quantity.
As for the soils, there is a very interesting geological diversity: limestone, sandstone, shale and marl.
The txakoli are made mainly with the two most widespread white varieties, Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Zuri Zerratia. With shades ranging from pale yellow to straw yellow, its primary aromas stand out, of medium intensity, with a wide range of nuances in which notes of white and citrus fruits predominate, along with other floral and herbaceous ones. On the palate they are fresh, balanced and slightly acidic.
The new styles of txakoli, added to those that have traditionally been produced in our denomination, reflect and reinforce the geographical origin that constitutes the identity of the wines of Bizkaia.
Our crucial values are based on a united group of producers who, with an eye toward evolution, through respect for the natural environment, produce txakolis with the aim of transmitting their passion for this wine and making everyone a little happier.
What services/activities do they use to promote the wine region?
The Promotion developed by the Council covers a diverse range of activities. We can highlight the following:
– Gastro-cultural festivals: Txakomic, Mahasti Artean (Between Vineyards), Bizkaiko Txakolina Musika. With the marriage between culture, gastronomy and txakoli as a basis, we celebrate three festivals throughout the year in which the experience is much more than a tasting.
– Fam Press: An annual press trip is organized to convey to the media the excellence of our wines and the wonders of our landscapes and experiences.
– Showrooms with warehouses in other cities of the state.
– Online and offline branding campaigns.
– Eskola: an online training project with up-to-date information on the DO, aimed at professionals and sommeliers.
Can you briefly describe the areas of cultural and wine tourism interest of DO Bizkaiko Txakolina?
The wineries in Bizkaia are small or medium in size, which implies a direct and close relationship with viticulturists and winemakers. A quality and close experience where you can enjoy a glass of wine with those who have seen it born and grown.
Our rich mountainous landscape and close to the coast, draws green and unique landscapes, in which the vineyards of the wineries are located.
Finally, pairing is our hallmark. The dance between quality Basque gastronomy and our wines creates unique food and wine experiences, full of flavor, with the small producer and the local product as the flagship.
Why are D.O. Bizkaiko Txakolina wines so special?
The wines protected by the D.O. Bizkaiko Txakolina are Atlantic wines, very different from those made in many areas of the Iberian Peninsula. They have a characteristic, balanced and refreshing acidity with great potential to also produce wines for aging. Even maintaining a characteristic typicity, the diversity of elaborated styles allows us to find a txakoli for each dish or for each moment of the day.