A summer white for guilt-free glugging

Matthew Jukes tastes the most bizarre but thirst-quenching white wine imaginable.


2015 Alaia Txakoli, Getariako Txakolina, Basque Country, Spain (£12, Marks & Spencer).

After last week's bright and breezy Portuguese vinho verde, I thought that I would stick with this feather-light, summery, white-wine theme and leap over the border to Spain. In the north-eastern Atlantic corner, you will find the most bizarre and yet thirst-quenching style of white wine imaginable.

As you know, wine is not the sort of drink that one glugs unlike an ice cold Coke or a beer! Having said this, and only on particularly hot summer days, I have unwittingly glugged (ie, linked a few swallows together) the odd glass, but then immediately felt horribly uncouth and borderline criminal!

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I have to admit though that Txakoli, madefrom the even more quirky sounding hondarrabi zuri grape, must be a legal glugger because it is water white, faintly spritzy, sea-spray and wild-flower-scented, mildly lemony on the mid-palate and also bone dry. It is the vinous version of an isotonic sports drink! It is also an utterly delicious companion to sushi, sashimi, crustacea and fragrant Thai and lighter Malaysian dishes.

There is one hard and fast rule to follow you must pronounce it correctly. I was taught long ago and this knowledge even won me a table at a fully booked Basque restaurant because the owner was so impressed when I asked for a glass of this wine while standing at the bar. Txakoli is pronounced tksa-koli (officially) or cha-kolly (in Jukes-speak) now go get em!

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).

Matthew Jukes

Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.  

Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.

He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website, www.matthewjukes.com.

Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’.  He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner. 

Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy.  His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.