Savoring every last sip of summer, we're drinking Txakolina from Uriondo and Doniene Gorrondona, both from Bizkaiko Txakolina D.O. Wrapped around Bilbao along the Bay of Biscay, Basque Country's largest D.O. was founded in 1990 and is home to Hondarrabi Zuri, the dominant varietal in the D.O.'s approximate 200ha of total plantings. And while there's 85% Hondarrabi Zuri blended with 3% Hondarribi Beltza and 12% Mune Mahatsa in the Txakoli Gorrondona 2012, the Uriondo 2012 is a blend of Mune Mahatsa (70%) and Txori Mahatsa (30%), a varietal so obscure that it's not found in Robinson's 1,280 page/1,368 varietal tome Wine Grapes.
Founded in 1987, Txalokina Uriondo is a small family estate with a 2.5ha (non-certified organic) vineyard. Inland and residing at 175m the clay/sand soils here are planted to 15-20 year old Hondarribi Zurri, Mune Mahatsa and Txori Mahatsa. Also known as Folle Blanche, which was first noted in 1696 in Western France and is predominantly grown at the western end of Loire –where it is known as "Muscadet's country cousin" (Wine Grapes)– Mune Mahatsa is synonymous with Picquepoul, and is blended here with indigenous varietals.
Fermented with natural yeast in stainless steel, Mune Mahatsa is then blended with Txori Mahatsa, which is barrel fermented in American Oak. Yielding aromas of wet slate, white flowers, lime pith and chalk, Uriondo carries a light spritz and bright acidity that's driven by lime pulp and stone fruit, leading to a refreshingly tart finish.
From an ancient 12ha vineyard/winery that sits on the coast in the town of Bakio, Doniene Gorrondona was resurrected by three friends who in the 1960's modernized the 1852 farmhouse to surpass its original txakoli production. Committed to sustainable practices, the trio organically farms their estate, including their 2ha of centennial pre-phylloxera Hondarribi Beltza. With steep holdings that face the Bakio Valley their Hondarribi Zurri faces the Cantabrian Ocean and is planted to clay with slate subsoil.
From 30-year-old vines, the fruit is fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks, producing a Txakoli with crushed stone and white flower aromas. Light on the green citrus notes, there's salinity here and firm fleshed apricot fruit on the palate with a mouthfeel like round stones and a lean, clean finish.