Wine in the Basque Country

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Map courtesy of

Most everyone that knows me knows I have an odd obsession with the Basque wine Txakoli.  However, while I find great identity for the Basques in this wine, there are other types that are more internationally known for their deliciousness.  If you are an oenophile of any sort, you probably are familiar with the Rioja wine-making region of the Basque Country.  The wine region is the oldest and arguably the most prestigious in the Iberian Peninsula, and is designated as a Denominacion de Origen Calificada (DOCa), which basically means that the wines produced in this region are protected, regulated, and known for their high quality. There is only one other region in Spain with this high of a rating (DOQ as translated), and that is given to the region of Priorat in Catalonia.  Within the Rioja wine-growing area, there are three sub-zones: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Baja, and Rioja Alta. The Alavesa sub-zone just north of the Ebro River is in the Basque Country, and this may or may not be one of the reasons influencing the desire there to be distinguished from the rest of the broader Rioja region. There has been no decision or ruling on what will happen in the future yet, but it seems to be an ongoing topic in the news.  For a recent article (in Spanish) on the issue, check out:



Ostatu, roughly translated as “tavern” is a producer in Rioja Alavesa that has been reported as one of the wineries wanting to differentiate itself from the wider Rioja DOC region. Photo courtesy of

1 Comment

  1. Do any of these wines have a presence of petroleum, tobacco or shay carpet?

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  1. Tentative agreement reached in call for recognition of Rioja Alavesa/Arabako Errioxa – Basque Books and More Blog

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