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Summer holiday wines

Some of you may already be on summer holiday, others will be going in the coming weeks.  Maybe some of you will visit countries from where you have drunk wines and enjoyed, hopefully, from TheWinePlace.es.  Whether it be the south of France, the rivers of Germany, the mountains of Austria, Tuscany in Italy or further afield to South Africa, Argentina or Australia, one thing is for sure, on your next trip the wine list will not be so alien as the experience and knowledge that you now have opens up the world of wine.

The first of my summer holiday wines is Spanish.  Last weekend I was in the Basque country, one of my favourite regions in Spain.  It was beautiful with the sun splitting the skies, summer had arrived.  We stayed in a casa rural in the town of Bakio, which is known as a place for surfers.  However, 10 mins from the centre of town perched on top of a hill there is a boutique winery producing Txacolí.  Donna Gorrondona, an artisan winery where everything is done by hand, make a very good white wine.


Txakoli viñasThe vineyards are south facing, enjoying the afternoon sun, however, behind the winery is the Atlantic, which brings a lot of rain throughout the year. Txakoli, made in stainless steel tanks with temperature controlled fermentation, is so much better than my recollection of this wine, which was ‘bitter and tasted of sour apples’.  If made well it is a pleasant, bone dry glass of wine, if fairly one dimensional, that goes well with seafood.   I would also recommend Ikusgarri Txakoli, clean, crisp and dry, a touch of apple and minerals.  We had this wine with ‘Chipirones a la plancha – Grilled Squid‘ and fried ‘ Pimientos de Padron – Padron Peppers’, now in season, an excellent combination at the Batzoki de Abando restaurant in Bilbao.


There is a growing market for this wine as vineyards and wineries have benefitted from investment and improved winemaking and viticultural.

Later this week I am off to the south of Italy, Naples, home of pizza,  and the island of Ischia in the province of Campania.  I am so looking forward to this trip as it has been a long time since I have visited this part of the country.   The volcanic soil of Campania produce some excellent wines from indigenous grape varieties such as Fiano and Greco de Tufo for the whites and reds from the Aglianico variety.  Outside of the region the wines of Campania are not that well known but I am hoping to discover a couple of gems for TheWinePlace.es members to enjoy.  I already have one wine from this part earmarked to bring in this autumn.

What interesting wines did you try when you were on your holidays?

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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