ULIBARRI ARTZAIAK, Bizkaiko, Spain
“The wine is in the cheese and the cheese is in the wine”
Ulibarri is their last name and Artzaiak means “the shepherds” in Basque. Before anything, these brothers consider themselves shepherds. As the name implies, they herd sheep. Those sheep make cheese. Those sheep also graze the vineyard and compost the soil. It’s a circle of life. Both the wine and cheese are a product of the sheep and therefore, “the wine is in the cheese and the cheese is in the wine”.
Their cellar is an extension of their stone home and their backyard is covered with 2 hectares of hondarrabi zuri grapes. The rest is green forests leading to the Cantabrian Sea about 15km away. Their soil is a mix of clay, sand, and slate. They’re one of the few, if not the only, certified organic producers in the Bizkaiko D.O. Simply put, their sheep add more to the vineyard than they do. In the cellar, they’re not making the type of Txakoli most people are accustomed to.
No fizz. No flute. Does this mean it’s not Txakolí? They definitely have the acidity. They’re still highly drinkable and refreshing.