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Celebrating Independence

Celebrating with Txakolina

The 4th of July. Independence Day. A day for gathering with friends and family. A day for barbecues and fireworks. But it is, of course, much more. It's a day to remember, and to celebrate the astounding vision and courage of those who, 239 years ago, pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the principles "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...." Powerful ideas. Imperfect as we are, America remains the world's best hope for the realization of those principles. And our Independence Day celebrations should include reflection on--and rededication to--them.

This is a blog--a wine blog--not a civics class. But while it will focus on the celebration--and the wine of the celebration--it would be trivial without the reason for the clebration.

Our celebration took place over two days--on the fourth with family and on the fifth with friends. The meals were different...and so the wines with the meals were different. But the apertifs were the same both nights. The 2014 Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rubentis (a Txakolina wine made by the Ameztoi family in the appellation Getraria). Rubentis means it's a rosé. Looking for a refreshing wine to sip on hot summer nights? This is one you should seriously--and I mean seriously--consider.

Txakolina--or Txakoli, they're both derivatives of the word txakolin and used essentially interchangeably--is a wine made in northern the Basque region and surrounding areas. Despite the intimidating looking spelling, they're actually quite easy to pronounce: chock-oh-leena or chock-oh-lee. Light, low alcohol, vibrantly acidic and slightly petillant (slightly fizzy)...they absolutely glide down your throats on warm nights. While the Rubentis we enjoyed was rosé, the majority of Takolina is white. Both are minerally with hints of salinity. The white has bright lemon-lime fruit...the rosé strawberry and lime.

This is not a fussy wine. In BIlbao, they drink it in tumblers--and bartenders often show off, pouring it from shoulder-height, enhancing the bubbles. I once read an opinion that the best wine is the one that people want to drink. If so, this must be great--I was amazed how quickly it disappeared. While just relaxing...we somehow averaged close to a half-bottle per person before we sat down to dinner. Didn't seem like a lot at the time. We all just enjoyed it.

Not the easiest thing in the world to find...but it's out there. In DC, several of the top shops have it. It's not particularly unusual for me to get excited about a wine. But it is unusual for me to get excited about a ~$20 wine. I'll be buying it by the case. But it's a wine meant to be drunk don't buy more than you think you might drink in a ~summer doesn't age well.

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