June in the Vineyards

Dinner at ARZAK, Donostia (San Sebastían), K5 Argiñano Txakolina

An entire month of June spent in the wine country kept us busy. We’ve returned with a treasure trove of new vintages, photos and anecdotes that will provide grist for the mill in coming months. So now let’s get the blog back on track with wine, food and countryside that literally leave one salivating…

A group of VIP US distributors from California, New York and Florida accompanied us across the north of Spain. Popping out on the itinerary was dinner at legendary Arzak in Donostia (San Sebastián), Spain’s perennial Michelin Three-Star restaurant. And at the kitchen table, no less! (Charlie Trotter is said to have taken his inspiration for this concept from Arzak.)

The objective of our visit was the Grand Cru super-Txakolina estate, K5 Argiñano, impulsed by Karlos Argiñano, Spain’s celebrity TV chef from the Basque seaside resort of Zarautz. Karlos, a colleague and longtime chum of Juan Mari Arzak, suggested the unforgettable and intimate experience at Arzak to celebrate his wine’s début in the US market. Accompanying the 14-course menu was an endless supply of his début 2010 K5 Argiñano Txakolina, showing beautifully.

Following the rarified evening, we woke up to a magnificent view of Donostia's famous beach, La Concha—among the most spectacular locations in Spain during the Summer months (just ask Hemingway!).

Following the rarified evening, we woke up to a magnificent view of Donostia’s famous beach, La Concha—among the most spectacular locations in Spain during the Summer months (just ask Hemingway!).

On to the vineyards overlooking Zarautz and Getaria, a modern winery and vineyard project begun in 2005 by Karlos and four friends (K5 = ‘Karlos’ Five’). Although from young vines, the wine produced here from low-yielding, dry-farmed 100% Hondarribi Zuri is remarkably extracted, its palpable texture compensating for the variety’s firm and persistent fruit acidity. It is a wine packed with mineral expression, and perceptibly salts the food it accompanies (with a twist of lemon!).

Modern, gravity-flow bodega and immaculate vineyards overlooking the Cantabrian Sea. K5 blooming and blossoming with fresh anchovies, jamón ibérico and Cantabrian percebes (barnacles)!

Modern, gravity-flow bodega and immaculate vineyards overlooking the Cantabrian Sea.
K5 blooming and blossoming with fresh anchovies, jamón ibérico and Cantabrian percebes (barnacles)!

We had been adamant holdouts in this category until tasting K5, an impressive and ageworthy wine that can be considered among the top whites in Spain.  The newly-arrived 2012 vintage, as one might expect with increasing vine age, offers increased intensity and body over prior vintages.

K5 successfully pushes Txakolí to unprecedented heights of quality and offers a unique culinary pairing experience. Availability is still extremely limited, but a special search will be greatly rewarded.

Author: shm

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