Who: Jon Goenaga
What: Txakoli Getariako
When: Since 2015
G.1200 is a Txakoli made by Jon Goenaga, a farmer passionately committed to organic polyculture, in Getaria near San Sebastian, just a kilometre from one of his famous customers, restaurant Elkano.
Txakoli is the wine of the Basque country on the Atlantic coast in north-west Spain, a beautiful region of seaside and mountain, with a rich gastronomy of fish and meat and vegetable. The climate is influenced by the ocean so it’s normally cool, or mild, and wet (average annual rainfall 1660mm), thus discouraging for viticulture, especially organic. And therefore there is really only the one wine from this region. Usually made from the Hondarrubi Zuri grape, it’s light-bodied, relatively low in alcohol, relatively high in acidity, with a mild lemon-apple fruit character, quite neutral but quite seafood friendly. It’s served theatrically from a height to emphasise the residual fizz in the wine that makes it fun, particularly for the pintxos bar tourist trade. On the other hand… Jon Goenaga makes a wine that is completely different; which merit a proper and good wine glass and are not to be poured from a height.
Jon makes just 4000 bottles of G.1200 from organically grown grapes which he planted himself 35 years ago. He’s certified organic but it’s about much more than the paper certification. Jon is impressive with his dedication and commitment to mixed, sustainable, environmentally sensitive organic farming and living. Jon walks his talk.
We discovered his wine at perhaps the only natural wine bar in San Sebastian, Arenales, when we asked if there was any natural Txakoli and the reply came that G.1200 was as close as it got. If you go to Bilbao’s hipster Taska Beltz in the old town, this is the Txakoli you’ll find.
Jon is a farmer who also grows fruits and vegetables, in particular tomatoes, avocadoes and peppers of all types, but much more. He sells his produce to the region’s notable restaurants like Elkano and Etxaberri. He built his own house entirely from recycled materials 35 years ago. At the same time he planted a hectare of vines. From the house up the hill from Getaria, you look at the sea, as well as fields with sheep, cattle and vegetable gardens.
Jon debuted his wine in 2015 having previously sold the fruit to other winemakers. Now he makes it at a friend’s modern, pristine cellar in nearby Zarautz.