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Last Friday I tried for the first time Katalin Iturzaeta, a txakoli wine made by the Aranzabal family since 1898 in Guetaria, Guipuzcoa. My friends Maite Aranzabal and Fernando Cortiñas had organized a dinner at their new home to gather some Bostonian buddies before the summer Diaspora. Maite offered this white wine as an aperitif to fight the Madrid heat and very quickly we were enchanted by it. Katalin is a light, acid, perfect txakoli, with a bouquet of lemon and other citrics and 11,5% alcohol content. The production is small, around 6.000 bottles a year, so it is almost a well kept secret.

The wine is named after Katalin Iturzaeta (in Basque Iturzaeta means “by the fountain”, according to Fernando, who has mastered the Basque language as only an Argentinean can). Katalin was the great grandmother of Maite, who started the family company at the turn of the XXth century. She was an admirable entrepreneur and also a strong mother, following Basque tradition. Katalin is made with “hondarribi zuri” grapes and the vineyards are in the Aitako hills near Guetaria, next to the sea and surrounded by the Roman “calzada”, the ancient road system of the empire that brought civilization to Spain.

The bottle label has a drawing of the monument to Elcano, the first person who sailed around the world, a native of Guetaria and a true Spanish hero. Katalin Iturzaeta, however, was no less heroic and also deserves a monument for leaving us her wonderful moral example and her delightful family wine.