First Published Costa News Group July 2012

A BRACE OF WINES FROM BODEGAS VALEDSIL

DO VALDEORRAS

The white wines of Bodegas Valdesil, Denominación de Origen Valdeorras, are, in my view, approaching legendary status. Their wines have figured more than once in the Costa News Top Ten wines of the year and for me the best white at last October’s Guía Peñin Los Mejores Vinos de España tasting in Madrid was not their highest scoring white, Naiades FB from Bodegas Naia, DO Rueda, but Valdesil’s Pedrouzas Magnum 2008, from Bodegas Valdesil!

I first tasted their white wines eight years ago in Barcelona at the Alimentaria Wine and Food fair. They are made exclusively for the Godello grape variety, a variety that for me can give as much pleasure, as many enticing aromas and as many deep, fruit-driven and complex flavour nuances as the illustrious Albariño from near neighbours, DO Rias Baixas. In fact I believe that, as far as the global wine world is concerned, this is a sleeping giant of a variety just waiting to be properly discovered!

I was delighted therefore to receive not only news of their new mono-varietal Montenovo 2011, but also a sample bottle. Then, only a matter of a couple of weeks later, another bottle was delivered by courier, but this time it wasn’t white wine!

In exceptional years this bodega, which has fairly extensive vineyards in North West Spain’s beautiful Galicia region, uses its Mencia vines to make a fine red wine too. My guess is that the red wines of Bodegas Valdesil will soon share the pantheon alongside their established white wines. You really should check them out!

The white Montenovo 2011 has, on the nose and along with super fruit-laden and floral perfumes, the typical characteristic of wines made from grapes grown in the slate infused soils of DO Valdeorras – minerality. Popular with wine writers and connoisseurs, this characteristic brings added value (fortunately not subject to extra tax – as yet!) to wines that display super fruit and floral aromas and tastes.

To state that minerality in wines comes from the soils in which the wines grow is only part of the answer. It’s true that vines growing in slate/stone/granite/seashell littered soil will pick up and pass on their mineral aromas and even flavours to the wine, but minerality is more than this. The climate and micro-climate will also lend a hand. In fact the French word ‘Terroir’ sums it all up – minerality comes from the terroir. Such wines define place, they speak eloquently of their roots, in every sense of the word.

Montenovo 2011 is their youngest wine, made from grapes harvested from the youngest vineyards which are planted in soils with an abundance of black slate. It’s a super-fresh wine with the minerality already mentioned but also some wonderful fruit flavours and aromas too. Look for white stoned fruit here, delicate white peach and apricots with that faint pink blush on creamy white skin. You’ll also find floral aromas, white rose petals, as well as distant herby notes too.

If you are looking for an introduction to the white wines of DO Valdeorras this will  be perfect. Then, when you would like to delve further into the various Godello styles, e.g. FB (fermented en barrica) and oak aged wines, stay with Bodegas Valdeorras and simply enjoy!

So a success story for the white wines of this area, but what of the new kid on the block, their red wine made from that oh-so singular Mencia variety? Well it’s as you were – Valderroa Carballo 2009 is a lovely red wine that personifies that of which this variety is capable when grown in its spiritual home, Galicia.

The slate-strewn vineyards are amongst the highest in the mountainous region of DO Valdeorras with an Atlantic influence and a long ‘hang time’, growing and ripening season, with quite dramatic differences between night and daytime temperatures – all advantageous for the production of quality wines.

The hand-harvested grapes are gently pressed to release their juice and the subsequent young wine is then aged in 500 litre oak barricas which have been previously used to age their top white wines.

The resulting almost uniquely coloured red wine has the mineral notes already referred to but also dark cherry flavours with forest fruits on the nose plus very subtle oak influence. It’s not primarily a wine for meaty stews and steaks, more for smoked meats, lightly coloured meats – chicken and pork, charcuterie and some cheeses.

Contact Colin: colin@colinharknessonwine.com and through his unique wine services website: www.colinharknessonwine.com . Fancy a private wine tasting for you and your friends, a bodega visit, a wine/food matching evening? – Colin’s your man!

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