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Valdeorras

In search of the perfect Godello

Godello is a white variety of wine grape grown in northwestern Spain, in particular in Galicia.

The Valdeorras region in eastern Galicia, northeast Spain, is an area of steep hills, terraced vineyards, and a wet Atlantic climate. One of the oldest grape varieties in Spain, the Godello was documented even in Roman times, but was nearly extinct just a generation ago. Godello is not the first southern European grape to be rescued from the brink, of course, but it differs from many in that it promises to appeal to international tastes as an alternative to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Godello is a tricky grape to grow and vinify, but in the right hands, the wine makes a statement.

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Godello shares with certain other aromatic grapes like Riesling an enhanced ability to express terruño (the Spanish equivalent of the better-known French term, terroir). 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.

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