Basque Country Wine Regions Guide

Discover the Essence of Basque Terroir: Unveiling the Enchanting Wines of the Basque Country!


Last updated: April 8, 2024


The wines of the Basque Country are probably Spain’s biggest secret. Like the Basques themselves, these crisp, dry whites were once enigmatic and difficult to understand. Indeed, wine lovers who had been nourished on New World Chardonnay would struggle to deal with the aggressive acidity and low alcohol of the Hondarrabi grape, named after the pretty seaside town of Hondarribia. But global warming has added some flesh – and body – to these (formerly) harsh acidic wines while growing tourism is starting to put Txakoli on the international map. And, of course, winemaking has improved out of all recognition in the last 15 years.

However, this isn’t the only vinous treasure to be found in the Basque Country. In administrative terms, the Rioja Alavesa subregion belongs to the Basque province of Alava; this seemingly haphazard arrangement owes more to the political structure of post-Franco Spain than to the actual distribution of the vineyards. In recent years, separatist politics has reared its head in this part of the Basque Country, as winegrowers in Rioja Alavesa voiced a desire to leave the Rioja DO and create a new designation: Viñedos de Álava. Even a landscape as serene and bucolic as Euskadi can have its political tremors.


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James lawrence

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