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"That Useful Wine Site"
The Godello Grape

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About Godello

(Synonyms: Agodello, Agodenho, Agudanho, Agudelha, Agudelho, Agudello, Agudelo, Agudenho, Berdello, Godelho, Godella, Godenho, Ojo de Gallo, Trincadente)

Background

Godello grapes Map showing the Galicia province of Spain

Godello is a white-wine grape originating in the northwest of Spain, probably from the province of Galicia (just north of Portugal); it is said to reach its acme in the small Valdeorras appellation within Galicia, and does not seem to be grown much elsewhere (though it may be that some Portugese plantings under another name are also really Godello).

Godello is another modern "rescue project": by the 1970s, the grape was nearly extinct, but a couple of enthusiastic advocates brought it to world attention with striking renditions, and it is today a major player in Spain and, increasingly, on the world stage. Godello is now one of Spain's two premier white wines, sitting beside Albariño in that capacity.

Because it is still a developing effort, the wines can be found in quite a variety of styles (not unlike Chardonnay, to which some compare it). One key difference in styles (again as with Chardonnay) is the presence or absence of oak in the vinification: steel-tank Godellos tend to have, as one writer puts it, "a fresher, livelier quality", with more minerality and forward fruit; oak-aged Godellos tend, in that same critic's words, to be "richer, fuller wines", often with the "creamy" quality that comes of lees contact. The difference may be more a matter of personal taste than of better/worse, though not a few wine writers have expressed a clear preference for the unoaked versions (though others much prefer the oak). One regional winemaker remarked that he, too, prefers the unoaked style, but also makes an oaked version just for the American market. So.

The essence of Godello (or at least unoaked Godello) seems to be minerality and acidity, but the extra that distinguished it from many other serviceable varieties with those qualities is a richness of fruit and wildflower flavors and a somewhat denser body than the usual all-mineral white wine.

Note that Godello is sometimes confused with Verdelho, which is a different grape, but was (and is) a name sometimes used for Godello, and also the Portugese Gouveio, because Gouveio was often used as a name for true Verdelho (yes, the world is a funny old place).

Factoid: Pliny the Elder, writing in the first century, described a widely grown Spanish grape that may well have been Godello.


Some Descriptions of Godello Wines

  • Wikipedia

    "Godello can produce fine white wines, and yields the best results in Valdeorras, where plantations have increased after having previously been in decline."

  • Eric Asimov, The New York Times

    "The wines, sometimes made solely of godello, other times blended with local grapes like treixadura and albariño, remind me of chardonnay, at least in the sense that the godello grape is versatile and somewhat neutral, greatly reflecting in its aromas and flavors the methods of the winemaker. What’s less clear is whether godello, like chardonnay, excels at conveying subtle but profound differences in terroir, that scary French word that simply refers to specific combinations of soil, climate, altitude and exposition that characterize the site in which grapes are grown, along with the human involvement. Some people have already made up their minds about godello. Gerry Dawes, who has been writing about Spanish wines for decades and who recently went into the importing business, has called godello “Spain’s emerging hope as an equivalent to the great white Burgundies.” Others aren’t so sure."

  • Jancis Robinson

    "The more I taste this north-west Spanish white wine variety, the more I love it. .  [It] combines the structure of white burgundy with the finesse of a juicily mineral grape. . . Godello is a variety that is well capable of making wines that improve with age."

  • Pamela S. Busch, San Francisco Examiner

    "Though not as effusively aromatic as albarino, the most popular grape from this part of the world, godello has more body and richness and is often marked with yellow apple fruit, sometimes apple skin. It is a sponge for the minerals in soil, which are generally alluvial in Galicia. In Monterrei on the Portuguese border, the days are slightly warmer than in other parts of the region, usually softening the acidity a bit. Valdeorras has slate, often giving the wines a more delicate and sometimes angular texture. Godello is also found in Bierzo, the most western appellation of Castilla y Leon northwest of Madrid. Sometimes oak is used, but as a rule, wood treatment is kept to a minimum or avoided, as it can easily mask nuances of the grape and terroir. As godello has more body than albarino, it is often a better wine at this time of year to match with the heavier winter cuisine."

  • Financial Times

    "These are dry, dense wines that have both fruit and acidity and can improve in bottle for many years. . . My only criticism is that all these wines are very good and differ less in quality than in price – but that could easily be said to be a plus point."

  • approach guides, wine

    "Godello-based wines have the big fruit, mineral notes and acidity of albariño (peaches, citrus, apple), but with a bit more body and slightly higher alcohol. While Galicia’s star albariño grape has become increasingly well known internationally, godello continues to fall below most consumers’ radar screens; this has served to make godellos excellent values. The best are from Galicia’s Valdeorras and Monterrei DOs and Castilla y León’s Bierzo DO, although quality offerings can also be found in Galicia’s Ribeira Sacra and Ribeiro DOs."

  • Don Rockwell, The Washingtonian

    "Godello is the native white-wine grape of Valdeorras, one of five Galician Denominaciónes de Origen. .  The Atlantic Ocean influences the climate, but Valdeorras is 100 miles inland, and the terrain is mountainous, inhospitable to growing almost anything but grapevines, whose roots burrow deep into the rock-hard ground, clinging to the steep slopes and leaching minerals from the slate-based soil. The stresses created by this harsh landscape give Godello from Valdeorras its distinctive character. The minerals are what you’ll taste in a glass of great Godello—a delicate middle­weight with fresh lemon and wildflowers in the bouquet and a long, bracing finish. A great Godello combines the minerality of a great Chablis with the acidic snap of a Sauvignon Blanc—it comes at you quietly, with elegance and persistence. Although most Godello is vinified in stainless-steel tanks—the Galicians like it full of pure and uncorrupted fruit—be aware of a potential problem: Some producers are fermenting Godello in new oak barricas, which impart an ugly, wooden taste to the wine."

  • Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, The Wall Street Journal

    "This is a wine that's fairly difficult to describe because it has such fascinating complexity. Its very fragrant nose can smell something like Champagne, with lemon and chalk. In the front of the mouth, it's light and lively and can even have a little bit of a spritz. It seems like a pleasant, fun little white. But suddenly, in the middle of the mouth, the wine gains some weight and actually reminds us a bit of Viognier, the big Rhône white. Its fruit notes are of the more subtle variety, like apple and pear. Then it finishes light and clean, with a nice little grapefruit kick, once again giving the impression of lightness. In other words, it's a versatile white that, as it happens, can stand up to spice and also pair well with lighter seafood. Fascinating -- and delicious."

  • Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast

    "Godello can be made in a minerally, slate-infused style that emphasizes crisp acidity and vivid citrus flavors (think Chablis). However, it’s the fruit harvested later in the season and fermented and aged in large oak barrels that’s potentially amazing. When Godello is done like this (the master of this style is Rafael Palacios, younger brother of famed winemaker Alvaro Palacios), the wines smell and taste more like white Burgundies from Meursault or Chassagne-Montrachet than any other white wine made in Spain."


Some Godellos to Try

(About this list.)

There are numerous generally available Godellos at reasonable prices and with at least some critical encomia, so it became a matter of trying to winnow. The list below comprises such wines, but there are not a few of quite similar pedigree that we left off sheerly to keep the list length reasonable.

The quotations below are excerpts; we strenuously urge you to click on the green diamond symbol by each quoted review to see the full article.
  • Valdesil Montenovo Godello, $10 - $19.
    (Valdeorras. Valdesil makes several Godellos; one more is listed farther below.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    Extremely pale color like ginger ale. Aromas of apple, pear, honey, and lemon-lime with zesty citrus, sour green apple, sweet white grape juice, and a tart finish that lingers with caramel-honey notes. Some heat early on and lots of acidity. Bright and zesty. Unique white wine with lots of complexity and nuances. A wonderful appetizer white to start the evening. At around $10 a bottle or less this is a tremendously inexpensive white that overdelivers. 88 points.

    Really fresh, citrus nose. Strong lemon character, waxiness, and a wet stone minerality. On the palate the fruit has a delicious ripeness; apple, cantaloupe melon, lemon, grapefruit. Minerality/salinity raises the whole thing to another level. Intensity, especially on the finish, adds further definition to the wine. Hate to draw clichéd comparisons but this is every Chablis-lovers dream. Minerality, great acidity, and fresh citrus.

    ♣ International Wine Cellar (September 2012), 90 points

    Bright gold. Smoky, mineral-dominated scents of peach and jasmine, plus a subtle note of anise. Deeply concentrated and fleshy but also spicy and vibrant, with potent peach, candied ginger, tarragon and chalk flavors and a refreshingly bitter quality. Shows very good power on the clinging finish.

    Clean and shiny light yellow. Very citric nose this year, with watermelon, olives and deep mineral. Fresh in mouth. Balanced. Nice acidity. Heavy fruit. Low alcoholic feeling. Dry and salty. Mineral and citric fruit come back. Medium length finish.

    Fruity but focused, with tight acids that can shine right through a host of rich foods. An excellent escape from a Sauvignon Blanc rut. Chill well before serving. Grade: B+

    The Valdesil has lots of minerality on the nose and some white pepper aromas. It also has nice fruity notes – lemon, lime, and green apple. It’s a light bodied white with high acid to go with food.

    This is a Galician white with flinty floral notes, minerally, clean and sharp. It has also has a refreshing acidity of lemon thyme which is perfect for my poached chicken.

    The northwestern province of Galicia is the source of many of Spain's best whites and most restaurants and wine merchants these days stock an albariño or two from Rías Baixas. Rather less well-known but easily on a par in terms of quality, are wines made from the godello grape in Galicia's Valdeorras region, of which this bottle, with its orchard fruit and graceful acidity, is a great example.

    Lovely honey and freshly mown grass, white flowers and nettles on the nose. Deep, ripe fruit, nervy acidity, juicy spice and quince. Superb, delicious and long.


  • Viña Godeval Godello, $11 - $19.
    (Valdeorras.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    Every time I taste a Godello wine I am reminded why I am so in love with this Spanish white grape variety.This 2010 Godello from Viña Godeval is no exception. The wine is fantastically, energetic, refreshing and flavorful — all the attributes I am looking for in an unoaked white wine. Youthful, pale lemony color, with a nose that captivates with its focus and strident minerality. The aromas are subtle, yet distinctive and tightly defined — lemon and lime citrus, stone and tree fruit with hints of wild flowers and beeswax. It is crisp with a taut spine of acidity, lively and ample fruit flavors that mirror the nose. This wine has a lively energy and the stony minerality persists across the palate to a very long finish

    Vibrant nose mix of white berries, apple, and beeswax. On the palate, creamy and crisp. Well done. I enjoy the day old pineapple, mango and hints of papaya and white flower throughout this silky structured authentic white wine. 89 points.

    ♣ International Wine Cellar (October/November 2011) 91 points.

    Greenish gold. Pungent citrus pith and quinine aromas are brightened by incisive minerality. Vibrant lemon and lime flavors are pleasingly taut and focused, gaining heft with air and taking on a deeper pear quality. Smoothly balances bright citrus and orchard fruit qualities and finishes with impressive clarity and persistence.

    Godello has been one of my go-to whites in the past couple of years, specifically Bodegas Godeval’s Viña Godeval Cosecha bottling from the Valdeorras appellation in Galicia—a wine I've showcased at a wine tasting with friends, brought to family holidays and sipped at backyard summer gatherings. Firm and stony, with a powerful mineral character, it's refreshing on its own but even better with food, versatile with shellfish, salads and other dishes. Plus, it's under $20. . . Though a different vintage than the one I had gotten to know so well, the 2010 had the same familiar firm structure, bracing acidity and minerality, with saline and citrus flavors, plus savory herbs and cut yellow apple. 90 points, non-blind.

    Neutral smelling at first, then the nose opens to display hay, grass and apple blossom aromas. The palate is tight, crisp and a bit tart, with grassy apple and lime flavors. Zesty and piercing on the finish. 88 points.

    Great energy with well-balanced citrus and floral flavors.

    [T]his wine has: the minerality of Godeval's slate-enriched hillsides. The minerality is a key note that makes this wine potentially great rather than admirably good. The Godello's aroma is delicate. The palate is an echo and continuation of the nose, with somewhat greater depth. The key fruit notes are peach, apricot, lemon and grapefruit, all expressed with lively acidity. The floral notes are best likened to wildflowers, a field's worth. The wine is so well integrated that fruit and floral ride in tandem almost as one entity, leading to a satisfying citrus peel finish. It is all a considerable package.

    An energetic, crisp, pungent Godello from the respected Godeval estate in Valdeorras. The 2011 vintage displays complex notes of citrus, grapefruit, lanolin and spicy herbal notes – a vibrant wine with a strong mineral finish.


  • Bodega Pazos del Rey Pazo de Monterrey Godello, $13 - $15.
    (Monterrai)

    Some quotations and facts:

    Minerally peach aromas are crisp, firm and inviting. This is juicy and lightweight on the palate, with stony apple, peach and nectarine flavors. Driving acidity and firm citrus flavors bring this Godello to a fine finish. 89 points.

    Zesty and harmonious with expressive aromas of ginger, minerals and licorice. 2½*, Best Value.

    ♣ International Wine Cellar (date unknown), 89 points.

    Light, bright yellow. Aromatic nose displays ripe citrus and melon scents lifted by zesty minerality. At once fleshy and vivacious, the flavors of melon, orange and pit fruit expanding with air. Finishes with good persistence and an echo of sweet citrus fruits.

    LIght color without much nose. Lime, white pepper, dry and a bit grassy. This one is rather short and simple. Not bad, but nothing to get excited about. . . Prefer Vina Godeval in this price range.

    This white wine, made with native Spanish varietal Godello, presents incredible freshness and is marked by notes of white fruits and citrus, carried by a lovely mineral frame.

    It’s a simple wine with simple flavours of pink grapefruit and stewed apples. Simple like a well cooked omelette aux fines herbes. Still delicious. Just a little obscure.

    [A] ripe, almost full bodied but crisp wine.


  • Gaba do Xil Godello, $13 - $18.
    (Valdeorras)
         ($15.94 at Saratoga Wine Exchange).

    Some quotations and facts:

    Telmo Rodriguez is one of Spain’s superstars, making superlative wines in many of the country’s best wine regions. His recent foray into Godello production is already giving spectacular results: the 2011 is a serious, fleshy wine of real depth and complexity. Expect floral, pear, citrus and lemongrass notes.

    Lemon, apple and a hint of honey characterize the bouquet, which is appealing as a whole. The palate is smooth, with a good mix of body and acidity. Flavors of pithy citrus, apple and green banana lead to a slightly bitter finish with almondy notes and lasting minerality. 89 points.

    ♣ Wine Spectator (April 30, 2013), 90 points.

    ♣ International Wine Cellar (September/October, 2012), 89 points.

    A rich, fleshy white, with pear, peach, grapefruit, floral and mineral notes, kept fresh and focused by a firm backbone of acidity. The long finish is spicy and floral.

    Light yellow. Aromas and flavors of fresh pear and melon, with lemon, chalk and herb accents. Fleshy but focused, with good finishing clarity and lingering minerality and spiciness. This tangy wine will work with light or rich foods.

    Spanish winemaker Telmo Rodriguez was pouring several less-than-$20 candidates that really impressed me, especially this delicious white, the 2010 Gaba do Xil Godello from the region of Valdeorras. With aromas of orange peel and flowers, crisp flavors of chamomile, stones and fresh pears, and a full, round texture, it’s a tasty, versatile value that seemed to sing of spring.

    The 2010 Gaba do Xil Godello was very pleasing, crisp and refreshing with delicious citrus and melon flavors, some minerality and even hints of floral notes. It would be a nice seafood wine or a pleasant summer drink.

    The organic white wine from Valdeorras, Spain was delicious with notes of grapefruit, pineapple, pear, melon and fresh herb. It was enjoyable on its own and also worked well alongside a range of foods. We enjoyed it so much that we're planning to buy several bottles from a local retailer.


  • Rafael Palacios Louro do Bolo Godello, $14 - $22.
    (Valdeorras)

    Some quotations and facts:

    The colour is bright medium-yellow and it smells creamy and nutty with a touch of spicy oak among the yeasty lees-derived aromas. Soft, rich and intense in the mouth, with density and fleshy texture. A rounded, generously flavoured white.

    One of the undisputed Kings of Godello production, winemaker Rafael Palacios has crafted a Godello to rival the finest white wines of the world. Vinified and matured in oak foudre from Normandy, this example from the Valdeorras region shows great complexity, elegance and finesse. Expect tropical fruit, a smooth texture and a smoky finish!

    ♣ Wine Advocate (June 2011), 91 points.

    ♣ International Wine Cellar (September 2012), 92 points.

    The 2010 Louro is 100% Godello aged for 5 months in foudre. Fragrant minerals, fennel, and white fruits lead to a creamy textured, richly fruity palate. Impeccably balanced and very lengthy, it is an outstanding value that will provide pleasure for another 3-4 years. Rated An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character.

    Pale yellow. Bracing aromas of pink grapefruit, lemon zest, white flowers and anise. Dense, lively and penetrating, with racy acidity sharpening citrus and pear flavors. Stony, uncompromising and pure, with very good finishing lift and cut.

    I was struck by the vibrancy of the wine, with its complex, well-knit layers of savory mineral, lightly toasted and fresh herbs, beeswax and citrus on a firm structure. 90 points, non-blind. Deeply glad that I was able to concentrate for the first time all night, I kept coming back to my glass to study the aromas and flavors. Godello can produce fascinating wines worth checking out if you find them, and this one showed that, when done right, looking back to the past can carry you well into the future.

    I rated the 2007 vintage of this Spanish wine in 2009, and almost 4 years later, this wine remains one of my favorite whites. .  This wine shows both the complex and friendly sides of Godello: round, lemon, slightly tropical fruit, but with great acidity and just enough oak smoke for some complexity. . . Louro do Bolo, [as compared to the same maker's As Sortes Godello], offers glimpses into greatness, but in a much more approachable and friendly package! It is made from grapes from slightly less older vines than the As Sortes and is fermented and aged in large-format foudres, giving only a subtle oak complexity. This wine is steely enough to go with seafood, yet has some roundness, smoke, complexity that makes it easy to go with so much more! Try it with some mussels in a robust sauce…it’s one of my favorites with big cheeses. It’s a lot of wine for the price and can be found in Spain for 12 euros and in the US from about 16 dollars on up…what a steal!

    The color is an attractive pale yellow, and the nose is rife with notes of mineral and citrus. This wine has been given exceedingly high marks by a number of critics—and for very good reasons. On the palate, it is a beautifully balanced, fresh and vibrant, tantalizing the senses with a vivid intensity and strong, lingering finish. And, priced at a mere $18.99, the 2009 Louro Do Bolo Godello is also an outstanding value. Stock up while you can.

    The 2011 Louro do Bolo, another 100% Godello (aged 5 months in foudre), is slightly more candied and minerally as well as less seductive than the less expensive Sabrego. While it may be a more serious effort, it is also more austere and less charming. Nevertheless, it is very good and well worth trying, particularly at this price.


  • A. Coroa Godello, $17 - $22.
    (Valdeorras.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    Our No. 1 wine, the 2010 from A. Coroa in Valdeorras, . . was clean, fresh and inviting, with deep, rich mineral and fruit flavors that were ripe and savory and a texture that made you want to keep sipping. This wine did not merely represent potential; it was potential realized. . . Deep, savory and distinctive, with a succulent lip-smacking texture and tropical fruit flavors.

    With an array of apple, kumquat and under-ripe apricot fruit, hints of chamomile, a dollop of white pepper and bright mineral underpinnings, this is one of the most complex wines made from godello you will try.

    ♣ International Wine Cellar (September 2012), 91 points.

    Pale gold. High-pitched aromas and flavors of orange, green apple and fresh fig, with a gingery topnote. Lithe and precise, with excellent finishing clarity and lingering floral notes. T his suave, seamless wine would work with light as well as with richer foods, or all by itself.

    A lot of depth and minerality jump up from the bouquet. The palate on this slate-driven Godello is rich but right, the perfect balance between body, acidity and fruit pulp. Tastes of dry spiced apple and melon, with a bit of citrus. A stately, elegant wine with power to boot. Ideal for Valdeorras. 91 points.

    Golden straw in color. Stone and orchard fruit, citrus, white flower and mineral aromatics. On the palate, zesty and zippy citrus with honeydew and green apple — with a hint of thyme and a solid mineral core. Great acidity and grip with a long finish. 13.5% alcohol. . . It takes a little bit of work to locate but it’s worth the effort.

    It is fresh, lively and has enough soft acidity to provide enjoyable structure without becoming lemonade. There is a subtle mineral quality and bright fruits. It goes well with a variety of foods and is priced reasonably - I believe $18-22.

    I must say I was very impressed by it’s complex aromas of melon, apple, hay and peach. Almost tropical:-) Taste is very full, elegant and has a a damped acidity. It’s almost like a mix of albarino, riesling and chardonnay (which are my personal favorites). It has a very long aftertaste with a fresh and fruity finish. A Coroa is a family run winery, it has current, up-to-date wine-making equipment. Sensible modern viticulture taking advantage of the Godello varietal’s personality and always in search of quality. This is highly recommend!

    It truly was the best Godello I have ever had. With intense minerality balancing fruit notes of nectarine, white peach, and almond the wine gave us a profound experience.


  • Peña das Donas Almalarga Godello Ribeira Sacra, $18 - $20.
    (La Ribeira Sacra)

    Some quotations and facts:

    I am drinking Pena das Donas Almalarga Godello (2008), a Ribeira Sacra white wine that is one of my favorites. This wine has a depth of white peach fruit and haunting minerality that is hard to match in all of Spain, a wine that one day could become known as Spain's equivalent of Montrachet. It is lovely, beautifully drinkable and calls you back to the glass again and again, something that seems to be a defining characteristic of many Ribeira Sacra wines, both white and red. . . Lively green tinged, white gold. Beautiful nose of lime, white peach and minerals. Soft, silky and well balanced with lovely, sweet white peach fruit, and a haunting, lingering bitter almond and a haunting mineral finish. This is wine that may benefit further from a year in bottle. 93 points, Exceptional value. (This summer I drank the 2006 Almalarga, one of several bottles I had, and rated it 96 points.)

    It was a Goldilocks wine–not too hot/cold, big/small, comfy/not comfy–it was, “just right.” The 80-year-old vines produce a wine with pleasant acidity and some stoniness of a Chablis and good richness thanks to aging on the lees. The only things holding this silky, drinkable wine back from white wine world domination are the presumably limited quantity of production and the slightly high price.

    ♣ Wine Advocate (date unknown), 89 Points.

    ♣ International Wine Cellar (November/December 2011), 91 Points.

    Light gold. Vibrant, mineral-accented bouquet evokes honey, pear skin, jasmine and beeswax. Racy and dry, with strong lemon and pear flavors and an exotic hint of anise on the back end. The long finish is stony and focused, with a lingering note of talc.

    This small, family owned estate is today producing some of the best Godello from the Ribeira Sacra region in Galicia. Owner/winemaker Antonio Lombardía takes meticulous care of his vineyards, crafting an un-oaked but weighty Godello that displays peach fruit and almond characteristics – Smooth, aromatic and delicious.

    The grape can be found in other parts of the cool, green north west of Spain, too, notably Ribeira Sacra. I was particularly impressed recently by the unoaked version of Peña das Donas, Almalarga Godello 2010 Ribeira Sacra.

    [It is] a stupendous wine with crunchy pear and almond fruit and lime juice acidity.


  • Valdesil Godello Sobre Lías, $18 - $24.
    (Valdeorras. Valdesil makes several Godellos; their basic "Montenovo" is listed farther above.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    The effect of the characteristics of the terroir on the Godello grape here results in a particular interesting wine to savour. Straw yellow coloured with green tinge, strongest than in the other harvest. On the nose dominates citric aromas with ripe fruits and floral notes at the end, gives to the wine a complex aroma. It is an attractive and unctuous Godello with a lingering finish. Well balanced acidity.

    The Godello grape is a fleshy, mildly tropical one but it has stunning, palate-cleansing acidity which snaps your taste buds back into order after each creamy sip. Hauntingly beautiful and heavenly with fish dishes this is a dreamboat of a wine and a grape variety which you should introduce yourself to as soon as you possibly can.

    ♣ Wine Advocate (31 October 2013), 91 Points.

    ♣ International Wine Cellar (September/October 2011), 91 Points.

    Pale gold. Assertive aromas of lime and pear, with a subtle mineral undertone and suave floral qualities. Clean and brisk but nicely concentrated, with high-pitched citrus flavors giving way to richer quince, pear and nectarine. The very persistent finish leaves notes of bitter lime zest and minerals behind. I really like this wine's blend of power and vivacity.

    A big step up is the 2012 Valdesil Godello Sobre Lias produced from small plots (500 meters altitude, 30 years of age) which is fermented in stainless steel vats, the malolactic fermentation is blocked, and shows much more complexity, with notes of fennel, a herbaceous touch turning to aromatic herbs, pure and clean, mixing notes of white flowers and fruit with mineral hints. The palate has a nice acid spine, elegant, balanced and pure. It seems built to last. It represents very good value.

    An aromatic, elegant nose of apple, citrus and yeast notes leading on to a rich, creamy palate of apple, citrus and butterscotch with a mineral finish, a slightly savoury quality and good acidity. I absolutely love this wine.

    Valdesil make Godellos at four different quality levels. The basic Montenovo is made in tank without much fuss whereas the Valdesil Sobre Lias has a deeper flavour thanks to being enriched by prolonged lees contact.

    The NW corner of Spain is lush, rainy and cool and the local cuisine is centered around the ocean: a far cry from the dusty plains of La Mancha. The white wines there are correspondingly briny and fresh. These old vines are planted on schist soils which contribute their characteristic minerality. Extended fine lees aging gives the wine an unctuous texture balanced by bright acidity and citrus notes.


For a Splurge

Rafael Palacios was highly influential in getting Godello back on the map, and his renditions are much esteemed. His flagship bottling is the Valdeorras Bodegas Rafael Palacios "As Sortes Val do Bibei" Godello (both Wine Advocate & International Wine Cellar, 93 points; Wine Enthusiast, 92 points), priced from $20 - $55.

     ($40.94 at Saratoga Wine Exchange).

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