Wine Tourism in Basque Country
Among the designations of origin in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, wine produced in the Basque Country has captured the attention of professionals as well as wine enthusiasts, resulting in a widening range of wine tourism activities.
The Designation of Origin Txacolí
The wine region in the Basque Country covers a part of the provinces of Guipúzcoa and Bizkaia and the southern part of the province of Álava. The Txacolí is the most popular in these two regions and is becoming widely recognized in recent years.
In this province we should make a distinction between the Txacolí de Álava, produced in the area of the Valle de Ayala, bordering Burgos and the wines of the Rioja Alavesa, which pertain to the D.O.Ca Rioja; this is an area with a mild microclimate that enables correct grape maturation.
The Bizkaia province is the homeland of the Txacolí of Bizkaia, that is cultivated in the majority of the province, normally at an altitude of 150 to 400 meters, in a cool, humid area with relatively high rainfall, where the absence of frosts benefits the growth of the fruits.
In this province the Txacolí cultivation is concentrated in the Getaria region on a strip located at an altitude barely above sea level with a mild and humid climate.
Wines and grapes in the Basque Country
The Txacolí wine is a white wine produced from grapes with a certain degree of acidity and lightly carbonated. Its alcohol content is also lower than the traditional wines.
According to documentation in the province of Guipúzcoa, this wine has been in production since 1520 and generally associated with traditional farmhouses (“caseríos”) and hand-crafted.
The grapes used for the production of this wine are mainly the Hondarrabi Zuri and the Hondarrabi Zuri Zerratia, although the cultivation method differs based on the area. In the province of Guipúzcoa the vine arbor technique is used while in the remaining provinces the traditional formula of planting in rows prevails.
The result are pale yellow colored wines, with intense citric and herbal aromas and a light acidity and marked freshness in mouth when served at an adequate temperature.
Some wine tourism activities in La Rioja
There is a wide range of activities in the region for the traveler. The three provinces offer visits to wine cellars where the wine tourist can learn about the production process of Txacolí and taste the varieties that each winery offers.
In addition, in Bizkaia province the wine tourist can visit the modern “Museo del Txacolí” located in Bakio, with cutting-edge audiovisual aids that will allow the traveler to become immersed in these wines from a different perspective.
In the same way, wine tourism in Guipúzcoa offers a “Ruta del Txacolí de Getaria” a tour from mountain to sea, combining wine with outdoors activities, or the tasting of other products such as tuna, anchovies or natural cider.
Last but not least, the Basque Country as a whole offers the chance to learn about the secrets of its cuisine revealed by expert chefs and savor memorable dishes. Among its extensive gastronomy there are true delicacies such as the Idiazabal cheese.
This region also offers the highest quality 4 or 5 star hotels, where the main goal is to make your stay in the Basque Country an experience you will never forget.