Photo by Tara Stevens
Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli
Txomín Etxaniz Txakoli
I was fortunate to spend this past week celebrating La Tamborrada in San Sebastian. Historically it’s a festival that celebrates the exodus of the French from the Basque city following the Napoleonic wars, though more recently it's been adopted by the city’s great cooks as their own. Today, you’ll see as many of the city’s food obsessed rampaging through the streets in chef's whites brandishing giant spoons as you do fancy-dress soldiers beating drums. Either way, the drumming goes on for 24 hours straight and during this time, you and the rest of San Sebastian need some serious sustenance.
I’d been guzzling way too much of the sprightly verdejos from the Rueda region near Ribera del Duero, when Amaia, the owner-chef of the one of the city’s best traditional tapas bars Ganbara, talked me into having a txakoli instead. Like crunchy, grilled pigs' ears (another of the great discoveries of the week), it’s not something I’d generally order, but that’s the beauty of Spanish festivals. More often than not they reveal something extraordinary when it comes to eating and drinking.
Txomín Etxaniz Txakoli 2009 is part of the new-wave txakolis currently making a name for themselves as the "lighter, brighter" albariño. This one is made in the nearby seaside town of Getaria (famed for its fish and seafood), and is as fresh and exuberant as they come. A very slight fizz, low in alcohol with lip-smacking apple and citrus fruit and softening floral notes, it goes with everything and lends itself well to those occasions when tradition demands you eat and drink all day and night long. On egín!