Yesterday we enjoyed ¡Txotx! at Tinto. We stopped by Jose Garces’ Tinto and experienced a totally unique and educational Sunday Funday. What could be better than learning about the “Sidras” and trying these traditional ciders, wines and food from Basque country?
¡Txotx! (pronounced “Choach”) is traditionally called out at Sadartodegis, or cider houses, in the Basque country upon the tapping of a fresh barrel of cider. For the 2nd year, Tinto welcomes the fall season with this wonderful event. As guest, we enjoyed the casual and interactive aspect of this event. We began our tasting with the Trabanco Cosecha Propia. This special blend from Trabanco is made only with estate grown native Asturian apple varieties that have been selected by the Asturian Association of Cider Apple Growers. Fermented with indigenous yeasts, Trabanco exhibits a tart apple character with a floral note and citrusy finish. This was one of our favorites. Up next was the Isastegi Sagardo Naturala from the Isastegi family estate located in the town of Toloza in the Basque Country of Spain. Every spring the people of Tolosa gather by Isastegi to celebrate txotx season by tasting the new vintage of cider. After fermentation of a dozen nativ varietals in kupelas (old large oak cider barrels) the cider is bottled fresh and without filtration before each shipment.
We started tapas sampling with Chorizo Pamplona, Aged Manchego, Gambas, and Chorizo A La Plantxa. The next ciders were the Bere Aran Sidra Natural, Ramos del Valle Sidra de Asturias Natural, and Bordatto Etxaldea Basa Jaun. The sidras are poured high and quickly from the bottled to glass to aerate the cider and enhance its natural carbonation. We tried “throwing” cider, a style of pouring and shirts were given out the best throwers.
Watching guests throw cider was probably one of the most entertaining parts of the evening. No matter what age, everyone was competing vigorously to win a free shirt. to win a free. Tinto is a Basque tapas bar showcasing the flavors of the mountainous coastal region that blurs the lines of demarcation between Spain and France. For this event guests were served Suckling Pig carved to order. We also tried Paella Bellota which is made with braised pork cheek, chorizo, piquillo pepper, peas, and bellota lardo toast. For vegetables there was Judias Verdes which are green beans with sherry vinaigrette, dates, oranges, and marcona almonds, as well as Charred Spring Onions with romanesco sauce.
We were surprised how the flavors of the ciders paired so well with everything that we ate. Tinto is very well known for their extensive wine collection, so of course our tasting included “Vinos” too. We tried the Viura, Bodegas Faustino VII Rioja which is floral and citrusy, made from 100% Viura grapes and pairs well with cheese and light tapas plates. This was the first white Rioja I’d tried and it was very unique. There was also the Tempanillo Bodegas Faustino VII Rioja which is a classic red Rioja with notes of cedar, tobacco, and leather while stil showing the trademark bright red fruit and body of a Tempranillo.
We had a wonderful evening and indulged in plenty of delicious food and drinks. ¡Txotx! at Tinto is a not to be missed event and we hope to return next year! Until then we’ll be stopping by for dinner to enjoy “Sidras” offered year round and a great wine list. Their menu consists of small plates such as montaditos (crostini), bocadillos (finger sandwiches) and brochettes (skewers) typical of northeastern Spain’s pintxo bars. Stop by to enjoy Tinto’s 2 dining rooms, as well as underground lounge for dinner and brunch. Reservations can easily be made via Opentable and delivery is available via Caviar!