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Tucked away on the banks of the Cantabrian Sea just west of San Sebastián sits the small yet fierce Getariako Txakolina DO. The area's sandy beaches attract surfers and tourists, while the Basque region’s abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants draws millions of destination diners each year. It is also here that the Lazkano family has been farming their small vineyard plots around their rural stone house and cellar—known as a caserío—for a century.
The Gaintza estate and winery was founded by Andrés Lazkano in 1923, for the purpose of making wine for home and selling the small amount leftover directly from his farmhouse to neighboring villages. The winery has expanded since then, now home to a boutique guesthouse and tasting room offering classically warm Basque hospitality. The winery is run by its 4th generation, brothers Joseba and Urtzi Lazkano. Joseba and his mother handle the winemaking (and the many visitors!) while Urtzi manages the family’s 23 ha of sustainably farmed, pergola-trained vineyards. Intensely focused on their small but fierce region and its potential for its native varietals, the Lazkano family name is respected for being fine wine pioneers in a region largely known for inexpensive, fizzy white wine. Surname aside, members of the family are usually referred to simply as “Gaintza,” in the local custom of swapping in farm or fishing boat names.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
From 100% estate-grown indigenous varieties Hondarrabi Zuri as well as the maritime variety Gros Manseng, this is a classic Getaria-style Txakolina, with light efferevescence and brilliant, refreshing acidity. Low in alcohol, this is beach wine par excellence.
2019 90+ WA, 90VM; 2018 89 D; 2015 91 D
85% Hondarrabi Zuri, 15% Gros Manseng. Sustainably farmed vines planted in 1978 to clay and limestone soils, at 75m (246 ft) elevation.
Gaintza’s low alcohol, effervescence and bright acidity make it a wonderful aperitif on its own, but it would be beautiful with shellfish, shrimp, and fried seafood.
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel, with 24 hour maceration. 45 day, slow fermentation, with no malolactic. Aged for 8 months on the lees in stainless steel. Bottled at 0 degrees of natural sugar. Natural carbonation from finished fermentation in bottle.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
Gaintza is located in the Getaria subzone of the Spanish Basque country, on the Cantabrian coast. Vineyards are planted between 150 and 500 meters from the ocean, at 75 meters elevation on the bluffs overlooking the water. Soils are limestone and clay. Fairly constant temperature with little diurnal variation due to proximity to the ocean. Warm during the growing season, with average temperature of 61F (16C). Rainfall is plentiful, averaging 13mm/month from April to October.
Bright green-yellow. On the nose, high toned aromas of lemon, quince, green apple and sorrel are overlaid with sea spray and stony mineral notes. On the palate, puckering acidity and effervescence lend a practically gulpable appeal, with bright meyer lemon, apple and green herbs. Finishes salty and clean, begging for another sip.