Godello, for excellent white wine!


I’m not really conversant with social media abbreviations. Perhaps I should be? I heard recently that some are now accepted as ‘words’ in Scrabble – the, apparently, classic, text abbreviation, ‘lol’, for example. Whatever that means! And, if they are now permitted in the Scrabble Lexicon, such a prestigious British board-game, maybe the next step is the Oxford Concise and therefore the English Language, proper?

I’m sure that readers will have seen many others via text/facebook messages, twitter etc (I don’t actually know the others, so I wrote, etc, to make you think I do!), received from daughters, granddaughters, perhaps just around the corner, and of course from the UK, as well as other further flung places as they travel.

(A note here – it seems to me, as can be gleaned from the above, that it is mostly the fairer sex who use these abbreviations. Would you agree? I don’t think I’m being sexist, it just seems to be more of a girly thing?).

Well there’s another particularly prevalent abbreviation of which I’m sure you’ll be aware – OMG! However, I wonder how many of you know that this actually translates to the above – Oh My Godello!

Ok, I’m perhaps stretching a point here, but you know, the wonderful white wine grape variety of North Western Spain really should be common parlance!

Now that summer is well and truly upon us our go-to drink is often white wine. Many of us think of looking first for cooling, refreshing whites, rather than reds. Indeed, we often change our diet accordingly, eating more salads, fish and seafood – food that is usually considered best to be paired with lovely dry white Spanish wine. It’s certainly true of me.

Now, the white wine scene in Spain really has changed beyond recognition, and for the far better too. In the past Spain was considered a red wine country, with white wines playing merely a bit part, if that. And my experience twenty and more years ago told me that this was largely deserved. The reds were often excellent (and still are) whereas the whites were, mostly, fruitless and so acidic that one had to be so careful not to spill any lest it burned a hole through the table!

However, during those lean years, and today as well, the white wines that stood out as being exemplary were those made from the Albariño grape – of which you have no doubt heard. I’m sure most readers will have tasted Albariño based wines from Galica, and specifically those from DO Rías Baixas. In a word, splendid.

However, not all that delights from the area that the late wine aficionado, John Radford, called Green Spain, is made with Albariño. In nearby DO Valdeorras you’ll find a more than worthy contender, Godello. Remember the name and seek it out!


Much of DO Valdeorras’ vineyards are planted at altitude in soil that is strewn with slate and it’s this poor quality earth, lacking in nutrients, that brings about a certain desirable mineral quality to the wines that are made here. The vines have to dig deep into the mountainside searching for food and water and, as Cork Talk readers know, it’s this struggle for survival which results in the best grapes.

It’s an added element to the wonderfully fruit driven, dry, rich white wines that are only now starting to receive the recognition that they too should have been enjoying for decades! Whilst international commentators are, quite rightly, blowing Godello’s trumpet, don’t forget that you heard it here first folks, several years ago!

I recently returned to an old favourite wine of mine made in DO Valdeoras –  Bodegas Valdesil’s Godello Sobre Lías. If looking (and I urge you do) for an exemplary wine made with 100% Godello – this is it. You’ll find, on opening a certain shyness, a momentary slight reticence to reveal its true self. However by the time the glass is poured you’ll be aware of a lovely floral fragrance, with the faintest of hints of fennel, all of which blends perfectly with the white stoned fruit that you’ll smell when you swirl the glass and sniff the pale gold coloured wine.

valdesil bottle

As you sip the wine you’ll also notice that slatey minerality before it hits the palate where all that the aromas have promised is delivered in flavour with a rounding delicate creaminess too. Excellent and not expensive!

Or you might like to turn to Adega (bodega, but in the Gallego language) Coroa’s wine eponymously called A Coroa, again made with 100% Godello, though this time displaying a faint lime green as well as the straw colour. You’ll find some delightful jasmine and magnolia white flower aromas tempered with a fascinating whiff of new mown grass, which, just for a moment, took me back to my tennis days!

A COROA botella

White peaches blend with pears and the fresh acidic lick of citrus fruit, ripe lime, to match the colour. On the palate it’s clean and correct, fresh and fruity and there’s a little more fennel to come as you swallow and savour.

The 30 years old vineyard that provided the grapes for Joaquín Rebolledo’s Godello leaves its mark on the finished wine. It’s rich on the palate, full for a white wine and finishes with a flourish. There’s fennel again on the nose, a little less so on the palate, though this vegetal note is the backdrop to a wonderful slightly under-ripe apricot and juicy fresh peach fruit filled mouthful. It’s an award winner and has a very impressive 92 points in the Peñin Guide.

Godello is also happy with a touch of oak and a visit to the Valdesil website (shown below) will give you some examples, all of which I’ve tasted over the years and I highly recommend.

OMG – to finish I have a tip for you!

Following the dramatic International Wine and Spirits Competition success of one particular Sparkling Albariño last year (it was the only Spanish sparkling wine to win the ultimate award, Gold Outstanding, beating all Cavas as well), plus the fact that other DO Rías Baixas Albariño sparklers are of a very high standard, I’m predicting that you’ll soon be able to choose from several Godello Sparkling wines too!

I’ve tasted three (one of which, from Bodegas Godelia, is actually from another Galician wine area, DO Bierzo) and they really are good – with lots of potential to improve when demand encourages more bodegas to take the plunge!

(www.valdesil.com) (www.acoroa.com) (www.joaquinrebolledo.com)

Contact Colin: colin@colinharknessonwine.com & via www.colinharknessonwine.com where you can also subscribe to his Newsletter to receive updates about his wine tastings, wine pairing dinners with classical music, bodega visits and wine orientated Short Breaks. Plus you can follow Colin on Twitter @colinonwine