Here are two wines that are a bit of a mouthful in more ways than one.
Totally unapproachable in terms of pronunciation, unless you happen to have been born in the regions of production, but very approachable from an enjoyment point of view.
The first of the two is Txomin Etxaniz 2017. Yes, it is spelt correctly! This is the producer. The wine is Txakoli, made from that well-known grape variety, Hondarribi, in the Getairako Txakolina designated region.
Until recently, the entire production was only sold locally – possibly because nobody else knew how to ask for it.
However, this Basque Country wine from the Spanish Atlantic coast, is now exported, distributed in the UK by Gonzalez Byass and available at around £14 to £15 a bottle from Oddbins or Ocado.
The hot Spanish climate is tempered by the closeness of the Atlantic Ocean and the vineyards are perched on the rugged hillsides, often with terracing. Wines have been made here for centuries and the family producing this wine have been operating from the coastal fishing town of Getaira for over 350 years.
This white wine is superbly fresh, heightened by a very slight spritz. Some similarity with good quality Muscadet sur Lie or Vinho Verde, it has a definite character of its own. The style is light and crisp, but with surprising complexity. Pale lemon colour, with hints of green. Citrus and apple blossom aromas, with a sharp green apple flavour, it has some steely minerality and softness from ageing on the lees.
Excellent fish and seafood wine. Sip a glass with some fresh anchovies or some coquilles Saint Jacques.
The other of these two ‘unpronounceables’ is a red from Turkey. Buzbag Öküzgözü-Bogazkere 2017, made by Kayra, and is one of Turkey’s top selling wines.
Buzbag (pronounced Bush-bag), is a blend of two of Turkey’s indigenous grape varieties from Eastern Anatolia.
The Californian winemaker, Daniel O’Donnell, has spent over 15 years working with the two grape varieties in order to create a high quality, balanced wine that expresses both varietal character and origin.
The vineyards are planted at over 3000 ft altitude in order to temper the hot, dry, continental climate, and much of the region has been organic for about 5,000 years, with no need for treatment with herbicides or fungicides. The intensely tannic Bogazkere grapes are blended with the lighter, fruitier Öküzgözü to produce a balanced wine with great depth and structure.
Rich and satisfying dark fruit flavours, with soft, strong tannins, a balancing acidity and long finish.
As a recent press release stated: “Much easier to drink than to pronounce.”
Since we are getting to that time of year, a fabulous match to this wine is a well-matured Stilton. Impress your friends with an alternative to port! Available at £12.25 from Strictly Wine or find older vintages from other on-line sellers.
Richard Esling BSc DipWSET is an experienced wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. An erstwhile wine importer, he runs a wine agency and consultancy company called WineWyse, is founder and principal of the Sussex Wine Academy, chairman of Arundel Wine Society and is an International Wine Judge. Twitter @richardwje. Visit www.winewyse.com.
By George! These wines are good. Click here to read last week’s wine column.