The Basque Bota

Just a quick little story about a Basque bota.  A bota is the leather bag used by sheep herders and owners for their wine.  In a story from the Espil family, they wrote me that their grandparent, Pete, would help with the Annual Wool Growers Barbecue that was at the Coconino County Fairgrounds or somewhere else.  He and older sheep men would butcher a dozen lambs and bury them in coals for three days prior to the event to feed the many people who would come for the event.  The one granddaughter of Pete wrote “that many a starched white shirt would be covered in red wine as the bota was passed from one sheep herder to the next.  It had a corked spout.  The bag was filled with wine and by squeezing the bag the wine squirted from the spout to the open mouth…a target harder to hit as the evening wore on.”

Other men also helped prepare the lambs for this event and one was Frank Auza who was involved in the cooking, etc., for many years.  He and Pete Espil probably did it together many a year. And now you have the rest of the story.


On my FaceBook page someone wrote this about a bota: Fort Tuthill was the scene of a lot of these feasts cooked by the Espils and Auza families! Each sheep camp had a Bota and a gallon of red Tavola wine. J. B Etchamendy would point it in the middle of his forehead, run between his eyes down his nose into his mouth and not spill a drop!

J.B. Etchamendy passed away last November so he can neither confirm or deny this story. Maybe his wife will know.



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