It was nearly a year ago that Brittany Gaut, a manager at Vickery’s, had her first taste of Txakoli, the Spanish wine with a cult following. Ever since, she’s been seeking it out all around town, but it can only be found at a select few locations —- Muse, Social, Raval before it closed. She’s tried to buy it too, but few stores carry it. That’s because the main importer of the wine, André Tamers of De Maison Selections, has more demand than supply. He showed up in Charleston for the Txak Blok party on Saturday night armed with kegs of white Txakoli, a case of the very hard-to-get rosé, and a small sampling of the very rare red Txakoli — much to Brittany’s delight. He also came with special pouring spouts for the bottles and glass porrons. The key to getting Txakoli right is the pour. It requires a long one — up to three feet — in order to get the CO2 that’s naturally in the wine to bubble up. A porron is a glass pitcher that looks like a wine bong and delivers the Txakoli in a long stream directly to your mouth. Fortunately, it’s a wine low in alcohol.
Chef Jason Houser and some of his colleagues from Muse were on hand as the party got going early at Fuel on Rutledge Avenue. The Caribbean restaurant’s back courtyard was full of Txakaholics — mainly in-the-know food and bev workers — munching on $5 plates of all-you-could-eat smoked red snapper and swordfish. The wine was on draft and served by the glass or in the aforementioned porrons. We bonded quickly with John Bush at the next table as he gave the porron a go for the first time. It wasn’t long before pitchers of both rosé and white were being passed around. Some guy even did streams of both wines at once.
At 8 p.m. the party gained more revelers as it made its way over to Coast where they had tables set up in Hutson Alley along with $1 Malpeque oysters on the half shell and grilled shrimp skewers. The night was quickly growing hazy as wine glasses were completely abandoned in favor of the porrons, a dangerous way to slake your thirst. At about quarter to ten, the waitresses started collecting the porrons in order to move them to the next location: Chai’s on King Street where the Txak Blokkers were confronted with a line to get in. Fortunately, if you knew the code word (we’re here for the wine party), you could leapfrog over the schmoes in line and get right back to the partying.
On Chai’s sexy outdoor patio, roasted pig was laid out on a long table and served with a delicious array of sauces, my favorite being the Txakoli-infused Dijon mustard. I ate a plate, drank a much-appreciated glass of the red Txakoli, and then stumbled home to bed, smelling of the wine that I had spilled in my hair and down my shirt over the course of one helluva porron-fueled night.