The Ulibarri brothers make incredible wine, but they consider themselves first and foremost to be shepherds. In fact, Ulibarri means shepherd in the Basque language. The brothers herd sheep because they use the milk to produce cheese, plus the sheep graze the vineyards to keep weeds at bay without herbicides and fertilize the vineyards in the process. This is the sort of holistic farming that goes to the core of the brothers' philosophy. In fact, to our knowledge they are the only certified organic producers in the region of Bizkaiko.
The vineyard is tiny, only 2 hectares in size, located in Pais Vasco, the Basque region of northern Spain. The winemaking is impeccable. Txakolina is the main vinous product of Pais Vasco, but most of it is made in a manner similar to Vinho Verde, fermented in stainless steel and bottled young with a slight fizz. The traditional method of serving Txakolina, then, is to do a long pour, holding the bottle above your head and pouring into a glass held down low, so as to aerate the wine and have some of the fizz dissipate. The Ulibarri is different, made the same care the brothers' put into the vineyard. The grapes are hand harvested and then are allowed to spontaneously ferment with indigenous yeasts. The wine is left to sit on the lees for 12 months, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. It is a Txakoli which actually gains complexity and nuance with age. Serve this with the freshest shellfish you can find and enjoy a bit of the Basque notion of the good life.