As I write, experiencing temperatures of 33ºC+ on the Costa Blanca, I think of lovely, aromatic, flavoursome, well chilled white wine. Well, don’t you?
I’m not one of these people who think between the blinkers only – white is for summer, red for winter, and maybe rosado for in between times! I enjoy a chilled glass of white wine whatever the temperature; and I love Spanish reds throughout, when served below the ambient temperature.
I’d love to reach for a glass of a Godello based wine right now (please visit www.costa-news.com click Cork Talk and scroll down to my recent thoughts on this super Spanish white wine variety), but I’ve run out of Bodegas Godelia’s Sparkling Wine as well as their still dry, which also has a small percentage of Doña Blanca in the blend. I’ve really enjoyed these wines and I’m certain you will too!
Bodegas Godelia makes it’s wines under the DO Bierzo umbrella. Situated in the North West of Spain, the finca is as traditionally built and designed as are the wines, which have their roots in a proud history of wine-making, but which also make use of more modern technology. The philosophy is simple – great respect for the land in which the wines grow as well as to those growers and wine-makers who have come before the current incumbents, with a view to a sustainable crafting of fine wines that speak of terrior.
Fructus (don’t try saying that when you’ve had a few!) Brut Reserva Sparkling Wine does not carry the official DO Bierzo logo, but don’t let that be a concern. The reason for this will be that fizz is not officially recognised in the DO. Or, perhaps I should say, is not yet recognised! This limited production Sparkling Wine should be the flagship fizz that persuades DO Bierzo to think again, as well as suggesting that other bodegas follow suit and make some too!
For me it emphasises just how good, and versatile, the Godello grape variety can be. It’s time for Godello to escape the shadow of the neighbouring Albariño variety and step up to the plate. I’m confident that it will also be elevated to the stature of one of the noble varieties of Spain. I’m certain too, that once the thought nestles in the psyche of wine-makers in the area (and in DO Valdeorras, where Godello is queen), Sparkling wines from Godello will become as popular as those made from Albariño in nearby DO Rías Baixas!
In the glass there is a golden tinge to the wine, a product of the variety, and its extra time spent ‘en rima’, in bottle with its lees. This extra time with the lees (20 months) also gives the wine greater structure, depth of flavour and a certain endearing creaminess. You’ll find white peach on the nose as well as a delicate floral fragrance which adds elegance to the wine as you bring it to your lips.
On the palate, you’ll notice a certain weight, another attribute, courtesy of its time ‘en rima’, but this is not at the cost of freshness and indeed, vivacity. Typical bready pastry notes found in most sparkling wines also give a little fullness to the wine without taking away any of its elegance. I love it – but there are only 2,000 or so bottles made, so it’s first come first served!
Godelia Blanco is made from Godello too, but here there is a significant contribution from the other local variety, Doña Blanca. 20% of the blend is this latter variety, harvested from vines that can count 60 – 80 seasons. The grapes are accordingly rich and full of character, giving a great depth to the wine as well as some complexity and weight.
The wine is correctly clean and fresh, of course – however, there’s more to this than just a refreshing acidity. This is the stuff of quality white wine, a height to which many aspire but fail to reach. This is why there is such a world of difference between ‘entry level’ wines and those for which we pay a little more, but which repay consumers several fold!
In the glass its brilliance will attract, along with the straw colour showing bright flashes of lime too. There’s a citrus element to the wine as well, both on the nose and the palate. Look also for a slight herbal note, thyme perhaps, with a faint note of fennel, typical of Godello, and some understated stony minerality. There’s also a very slight blanched almond note, both on the palate and the nose.
Dry, of course, but fruit rich – the citrus again with a little peach and the faintest whiff of something more exotic, was that mango? A lovely drink – ideal aperitif, particularly in this heat, but also fish and seafood friendly and salads too. Try it with lemon chicken sometime too – super!
Whilst Godello may be the darling white wine variety of DO Bierzo, the area is probably more famous for its distinctive reds, made with the uniquely flavoured and fragranced Mencía. Bodegas Godelia’s softly spiced Mencia has had a well-timed 12 months in French and American oak.
The grapes have come from old vineyards and are harvested by hand with this careful selection augmented by another on the selection table back at the bodega. There are three different vineyard plots and the grapes from these different plots are blended together in proportions that can change from year to year. The wine is therefore a reflection of the whole ‘terroir’ as each plot has its own characteristics.
There’s the faint minerality referred to in the white, but a little more so in the red, indicating perhaps that the 2011, the sample that I tasted, had a slight bias to grapes from a more slate and stone orientated vineyard. The wine has elegance and complexity, with some deeply layered flavours of damson and forest fruit. And it’s this fruit that will be the lasting memory as you drain, first the glass, and finally the bottle.
We enjoyed it with a pork dish, rich in a creamy cider apple sauce, which it complemented perfectly, allowing the meaty cider notes to form a perfect liaison with the dark fruits of the wine!
www.godelia.es – well worth a visit!
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