2015 Garena - The Carlist Wars

The Siege of Bilbao - 1836

In a nutshell (an expression which history teachers never use), the Carlist Wars were fought because of a dispute of who should be on the throne. King Ferdinand VII and his wife Maria Cristina had an infant child Isabella II who, when Ferdinand died in 1833, was too young to become queen. Maria Cristina became Queen Regent on behalf of her infant child, and this split the country in two – the Cristinos (loyal to the Queen Regent and Liberals) and the Carlists (supporters of Carlos V, the brother of deceased Ferdinand VII and pretender to the throne - they wanted a return to an autocratic monarchy).

It is from Garena’s vineyards (winemaker Joserra who recounted the history is pictured above and below) that Carlos VII, grandson of Carlos V, laid siege to Bilbao with his artillery, surrounding the city. However, the Carlists failed to take the city, and after four years of war Carlos VII went into exile in France. The Carlists would next be seen at the Spanish Civil War, which they considered as another crusade against secularism, but Franco subsumed both their militias and their political party into his National Movement.

Commonly misconceived as a wine poured from a great height into tumblers, Txakoli is a term that has no direct translation, even in Basque! Txakoli is believed to mean a “house wine”. Furthermore, the 2015 Garena is not a frizante styled wine, rather a very elegant and clear tipple for a warm summer’s evening. This is a very pale yellow in colour with a citric nose, aromas of apple, cut grass, and with mineral notes. On top of this, the 2015 Garena is light on the palate, crisp but also with smooth acidity, and minerality wins out over the fruit, good length. This is a beautifully rounded wine, and yet another example of why Spanish whites should not be looked over.