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Gorrondona "Doniene" Bizkaiko Txakolina '20
Doniene Gorrondona is perched on precipitous green cliffs above the Bay of Biscay in the seaside village of Bakio, near Bilbao in the Spanish Basque Country. The name of the winery is a combination of Doniene, Basque for Saint John, the patron Saint of Bakio whose shrine and hermitage is on the summit of the nearby San Juan de Gaztelugatxe island, and Gorrondona, the name of the farmhouse and winery which was built in 1852.
The winery was founded by winemaker and oenologist Itziar Insausti and journalist Andoni Sarratea. Itziar’s brother Egoitz works in the winery and assists agronomist Julen Frías in the vineyards. Doniene Gorrondona was one of three original pioneers in the revival of Txakolina production near Bilbao, with the creation of the Bizkaiko Txakolina DO in 1994. Prior to that, the Txakolina discipline was nearly lost in the area, with many vineyards given over to the construction of seaside homes. Their goal has always been to rejuvenate the tradition of Txakolina and honor its contribution to the gastronomic and cultural history of their village with the indigenous Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza grapes. Unlike some of their neighbors, they eschew the use of international varieties, believing in the traditional local grapes of their ancestors.
Doniene is 100% Hondarrabi Zuri aged on the lees, well structured, and lacking any residual CO2; it demonstrates that the region can make wines that belong in gastronomic settings and don’t need to be consumed early. The grapes are sourced from some of their oldest white vineyards with significant clay content in the soils, perched at 250 meters high above the Bay of Biscay, surrounded by pine forests. Bakio has a mild climate, as the narrow valley traps the sea breeze, which makes for warmer winters and cooler summers. Itziar’s pioneering use of native yeasts for fermentation reveals the complexity of each site.
After a manual harvest, the grapes are destemmed and given a brief cold soak. Only the free-run juice is used, and each parcel is vinified separately, using only native yeasts. The wine then rests on its lees until bottling the following March. You can expect a range of captivating aromas here, from complex floral notes to apple, shaved fennel, and crushed lime. On the palate, it is light-bodied, with a lively, mineral-driven finish.
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