Iri is part of viticultor and winemaker Itziar Insausti’s personal mission to show the world that hondarrabi zuri, the indigenous grape of txakoli, can be more than just a lighthearted wine; it can be serious, multifaceted, and truly world-class. The same battle has been fought in the past decade to great effect within the Crus Communaux of Muscadet in France to differentiate the producers who are shooting for higher quality and terroir-driven styles from the everyday party wines used to wash down oysters. Neither style is better or worse, yet it is necessary to differentiate the intent. The latter requires an incredible amount of time, persistence, and monetary sacrifice in the form of lower yields for the vigneronne who wants to create something truly distinctive. Such is the case for Doniene, with yields less than half of the permitted allowance by the D.O.
Given the naturally low yields, grapes are ripe and concentrated without losing the area’s traditional acidity. The wine undergoes spontaneous fermentation and is aged under lees in stainless steel tanks. No sulfites are added.
Vintage Notes – 2019 was an outstanding vintage in the Bizkaiko Txakolina appellation, possibly the best vintage of the decade for quality, complexity and age-ability. Spring was rainy, with mild temperatures lasting through early June. Summer saw little rainfall, with rain concentrated in a few specific storms, with a majority of clear, sunny days. The summer temperature was moderated by a cool breeze from the Cantabrian Ocean, with a long, even ripening period favoring exceptional phenolic development. The 2019 harvest took place between September 26 and October 12 under ideal conditions, with an absence of disease in the vines and the health of the grapes was extraordinary. 330 cases produced.
Vinification – Zero sulfur was used during vinification and bottling. Grapes are carefully hand-selected during a manual harvest and rushed to the winery to avoid any oxidation. There the grapes are destemmed, and only the free-run juice is used. Fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks with native yeasts. The wine then goes through a partial spontaneous malolactic fermentation and ages on the lees for five months.
- Bizkaiko Txakolina
- Site: Irimingorrieta at 250m
- Grapes: Hondarrabi Zuri
- Vine Age: 25 years old
- Soil: Sandstone and shale
- Farming: Practicing Organic
- Vinification: Fermented by native yeasts in stainless steel
- Aging: Five months on the lees