If you’re looking to switch up your usual Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, there’s a lesser-known, super versatile white varietal that belongs on your table: Txakoli. Pronounced “cha-ko-lee” (and sometimes called “chacoli” or “txakolina”), this Basque wine is light on alcohol, delicate in flavor, and can be enjoyed before, during, and after a meal.
My first encounter with Txakoli was in the Spanish seaside town of San Sebastian, where my husband and I found ourselves on our first pintxos crawl. We asked the bartender for a recommendation to go with the array of small bites we had chosen, and without hesitation, he pulled out a slender green bottle from a bucket of ice, held it high overhead, and poured the wine into two glass tumblers with a flourish. Bright, with plenty of acidity, and slightly effervescent on the tongue, it was a perfect accompaniment to nearly every dish, from garlicky shrimp to jamon iberico. Because of its versatility (and the great memories it brings of these bars in San Sebastian), Txakoli has been in regular rotation at my house ever since.