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Waiting for godello

Posted by Stephen Meuse  May 31, 2011 08:58 AM

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IMG_3833.JPG Galicia, in Spain's northwest corner, may be the least well-known of that country's 17 autonomous regions. Neither its five designated wine growing areas -- Rias Baixas, Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra, Monterrei, and Valdeorras -- or the varietals planted there are likely to be familiar to casual wine drinkers, though the albarino grape which makes perfumed whites in Rias Baixas may be an exception. 

Working on the grill wines column that appeared in Food section last week we tasted three Gallician whites based on the cool, fruity godello (go-DAY-oh) grape. We liked them all, but the price of the two that had reasonable availability was a little higher than what we aimed at, and the distributor of the third was still a week or two away from receiving his expected shipment. 

At the low end of the scale ($10-$12) Godello is simple, refreshing stuff, not unlike Vinho Verde at about the same price. But it can be a bigger, more interesting wine when a grower takes the initiative to lower yields and encourage more ripeness in the grapes, or when he's working with very mature vines. The result is something that gives an initial impression of weight, then seems to lift off and hover in an almost ethereal way. 

2009 Adegas Benaza Monterrei Godello. Godello expression tempered with small amounts of dona blanca and treixadura. Plenty of appealing crisp apply-peachy fruit and some zippy acids. 30-50 year-old vines. Only about 2000 cases produced. Really superb little backyard sipper. Around $12. Distributed in Massachusetts by Genuine Wine Selections, (508) 359-9463. 

2010 Bodegas Valdesil "Montenovo" Valdeorras Godello. Round, fleshy, ripe, fruit veers toward the tropical; some residual sugar perceptible - but pretty well countermanded by some assertive acids. Sleek finish. Around $15. An Eric Solomon selection distributed in Massachusetts by M.S. Walker, 800-528-2787. 

2009 Bodegas Abanico "Tempestad" Valdeorras Godello. Aromatically modest, but with a nicely weighty pear-apple flavor profile; bright, clean, and fresh with a slightly glycerined impression. 100% godello.  Around $20.  An Aurelio Cabastrero selection distributed in Massachusetts by Charles River Wine Company, 508-347-9200. 

File under: Good to taste.
Ellen Bhang

About By the Glass

Ellen Bhang writes about food and wine and reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe. Wine is the focus of her degree in the Gastronomy master's program at Boston University. She can be reached at


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