Downtown Durham's neighborhood bottle shop and wine bar offering curbside pickup, local delivery, and shipping to 43 states.
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Isastegi Sagardo Naturala
Isastegi is a refreshing, dry natural cider from the verdant mountains of the Basque Country, high above the Bay of Biscay along Spain’s rugged and green northern coast. Innovation meets 500 years of tradition, making the authentic San Sebastián cider experience portable.
Cider has been produced at the Isastegi farm since the 17th century as cider is an integral part of the Basque culture, where it is an everyday drink. Isastegi transcends the cider category, crafting a unique product born of the experience that comes from practices transmitted from generation to generation, paired with innovation. Isastegi cider is produced exclusively with organically-grown, native Basque apples farmed within a 15-kilometer radius of their cider house in Tolosa, in the countryside outside of San Sebastián.
Isastegi is also a founding member of the Gorenak Society and Euskal Sagardoa, a new PDO for Basque natural cider. It was created in 2017 and allows the use of about 115 local apple varieties grown in the Basque Autonomous Community. It certifies both the quality and origin of the apples and cider. Isastegi has also recently gained organic certification by ENEEK (Basque Organic Regulatory Council) and does not add sulfites to their cider at any point during the process.
Basque Sagardo is traditionally served cold, poured into a wide-mouth tumbler from an arm’s length a little bit at a time to give the cider its signature creamy, effervescent mousse.
Vinification – Each lot is fermented separately in stainless steel tanks with native yeasts. After fermentation, each component is tasted for quality, and the lots are blended together in kupelas (old, large oak cider barrels) for several months. Isastegi cider is bottled fresh from barrel without fining or filtration before each shipment.
Isastegi is an old family estate located in the town of Tolosa in the Basque Country of Spain…
Cider has been produced at the Isastegi farm since at least the 17th century.
The estate was originally covered by pastures for cattle, with only a few apple trees for the family to make a small amount of cider for themselves and neighbors. In 1984 Migel Mari Lasa, with the help of his father Joxe Mari, decided to switch from livestock to cider and began selling their cider to the public. Pastures were replaced by orchards planted with native Basque apple varieties and the house became dedicated to cider production. The third generation at Isastegi is innovating and advancing the quality standard of the previous generations.
The ecosystem around Isastegi is made up of high-quality apple orchards and all of the apples which go into Isastegi are from orchards within a 15-kilometer radius. This is an important distinction, as less scrupulous producers making cheap cider for the bulk market often rely on frozen apple must concentrate purchased cheaply from other countries with no quality standards, fermented in their cider house, and served to unknowing tourists. There is more demand for cider in Spain than there are apple orchards, so it has created a system where the importation of foreign apple must for cider is common. This is one of many points that sets the production at Isastegi apart from the competition.
A quality designation was created in 2017 called PDO Euskal Sagardoa for natural cider.
It allows the use of 115 local apple varieties grown in the Basque Autonomous Community, certifying both quality and local origin. Euskal Sagardoa designated ciders are always natural, produced from certified apples, and have to pass a tasting panel and lab analysis. Isastegi carries the red neckband of Euskal Sagardoa (there is also a gold neckband form special, limited ciders), attesting to their hard work advancing the local cider discipline.
The family is also currently working on adding more planting of orchards in Tolosa in higher elevation plots. All their farming is organic and they will soon have their certification in 2021. As a matter of production, all apples are native to the Basque Country and only indigenous yeasts are used for spontaneous fermentation. There are no additions or corrections allowed in Euskal Sagardoa.
They have a state-of-the-art pressing and bottling room as well as a large entertainment space for their kupelas (traditional, large oak cider barrels), where they host the txotx (spring tasting) season. Every spring visitors and locals gather at Isastegi to celebrate txotx season by tasting the new vintage of cider while enjoying the traditional cider house meal of codfish omelette, fried cod with piquillo peppers, steak, walnuts, quince jelly, and Idiazabal cheese. Txotx!
LouElla is Downtown Durham's neighborhood bottle shop, bar, and event space offering curated wine, craft beer, and fortified selections from family operated producers. The business takes its name and mission from owner and proprietor Campbell Davis's Great Aunt LouElla who was much beloved for her warmth, hospitality, and generous spirit. Whether we are serving you at the bar or helping you pick that perfect bottle to host your celebration, our mission is to share LouElla's hospitality with the community.
Owner & Manager
For Cam Davis, LouElla is the culmination of more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and beverage industry. Cam has successfully managed some of Durham’s finest locally and nationally recognized establishments, including Hutchin's Garage, Guglhupf, Rue Cler, and Durham Catering Company. He brings a wealth of wine and beverage knowledge, not only from his extensive restaurant experience, but also from his tenure as Durham Sales Manager for wine distributor Bordeaux, Fine and Rare.
316 West Geer St, Suite A, Durham, NC 27701
Tue. - Thu. 11am - 9pm
Fri. & Sat. 11am - 10pm
Sun. 11am - 8pm