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Senior editor James Molesworth joined Wine Spectator in 1997. He reviews Bordeaux, the Loire, the Rhône, South Africa and New York's Finger Lakes.
James Molesworth

A Tongue-Twisting Spanish White

Bodegas Itsas-Mendi Hondarrabi Zuri Bizkaiko Txakolina 2007

James Molesworth
Posted: July 29, 2009

Located in New York's Time Warner Center, the restaurant Landmarc is known for its solid, well-priced wine list. Despite the quirk of not taking reservations (a pet peeve of mine), it’s still one of my favorite local spots. While dining there recently, I opted for a classic summer pairing: oysters and a brisk, tangy white. But instead of a more common wine choice such as a Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc, I chose this tongue-twisting wine from Spain.

Not far from the city of Bilbao, the Bizkaiko Txakolina (biz-ki-koh chok-o-lee-nah) appellation draws its name from the Basque language, as does the native grape used in the wine, Hondarrabi Zuri. At Itsas-Mendi, winemaker Ana Martin fashions a lively, citrus-filled white with brisk acidity and snappy sea salt and mineral notes that crackle through the finish, making it an ideal partner for briny, raw seafood. Even though the 2008 vintage is more current (and supposedly better in quality), the '07 is still holding up nicely, with the slightest hint of almond chiming in on the finish. At just $34 on the restaurant’s wine list, it’s a delicious value. I rated it 88 points, non-blind.

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