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Alentejo: Portugal’s best-kept secret
A Wine Lover’s Guide to San Sebastián
Eat & Drink | San Sebastián

A Wine Lover’s Guide to San Sebastián Words by Marti Buckley

“Nestled between the Rioja region and Basque txakoli vineyards, San Sebastián is a true destination for those looking to drink some of the world’s best reds and a unique fizzy white.”

Wine has been a staple since Roman times in northern Spain. Rioja, just an hour from San Sebastián, has spent the last century positioning itself as one of the world’s wine superpowers. The Basques also have a unique local wine, txakoli, which over recent decades has gone from rough and tumble table wine to a respected bottle of wine, usually white and often delicately carbonic. San Sebastián may be a foodie mecca, but rest assured it has more than its fair share of must-visit watering holes.

Where to Worship / The Wine Mecca

From the outside, Rekondo looks like any other Basque farmhouse-turned-restaurant on the mountainside. Until, that is, you are handed their 250-page wine menu. What began as a private collection of a retired bullfighter grew and grew to include some of Spain’s best wines, rare wines from across the world, and incredible vintages (the sheer number of ’64 Riojas on the menu is enough to make you punchdrunk by proximity). Ask the sommelier Martín to let you pop down to the cellar, named one of Europe’s top five by Wall Street Journal.

Where to Shop / Best wine shop

It’s what is down deep that counts, and never has that been more true than in GOÑI ardoteka. Do not miss Nerea Goñi’s wine shop, a small ardoteka (vinoteca in Basque) on the fringes of San Sebastián’s old town. Upstairs the shelves hold all the best national Spanish wines, and tastings that take you across Spain’s wine regions by the glass are for hire. The jewels, however, are hidden downstairs, where there is a cave that holds specialty bottles and vintages, from a 1914 Tondonia to a 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild (yours for €4000)—and everything in between.

Where to Taste / The Most Exciting Tasting in Town

Vega Sicilia, located on the edge of the Ribera del Duero region, has a reputation for making some of Spain’s (and the world’s) best wines. So cozy up to Mimo San Sebastián’s wooden tasting table in their cooking school under the Hotel María Cristina and taste not one but six bottles from this world-famous bodega. Led by sommelier Tito Lázaro, the Vega Sicilia Tasting gives big bang for your #winegoals buck.

Where to Drink & Snack / Best pairings and small plates

Can’t decide whether you’re shopping or snacking? The shelves of N. 06 are stocked with 200+ bottles that have one thing in common: they’re not easy to find anywhere else in town. Bottles curated by in-house sommelier Marcos Gomez spotted on a recent visit included Espadeiro, a wine with a 1,300 bottle production; and Gorrondona, a rare red txakoli. At the tables in the back, you can enjoy your wine with a plate of cheese, anchovies or charcuterie, or sit down for a meal of sweetbreads or cauliflower steak. The wine-by-the-glass menu changes weekly.

Which Bodega / The Bodega to Visit

The closest D.O. is Getariako Txakoliña, whose signature wine is the effervescent, slightly saline white wine known as txakoli. Head to the heartland and visit Bodega Txakoli Rezabal, whose owners Ander and Mireya gave up music careers to make wine on the edge of a mountain overlooking the sea. Tour the bodega to learn how this unique wine is made, and finish off tasting their txakoli, rosé, and sparkling wine with pintxo pairings and world-class views.

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