Godello, Doña Blanca, Mencía. Are these grape varieties familiar to you? They aren’t to most of us. All three are indigenous to the Iberian Peninsula and are represented in our Cellar Note today as components of the wines made by Bodegas Godelia. Godelia is situated outside the village of Cacabelos in the Spanish wine region of DO (Denominación de Origen) Bierzo. We received both wines as tasting samples.
Bierzo is located in the northwest corner of Spain just north of Spain’s border with Portugal. The region is inland from Rías Baixas and the Spanish wine regions of Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras, which lie between Rías Baixas and Bierzo. These inland Spanish wine regions are relatively small and not very well known.
Bierzo encompasses the valley and mountains that surround the city of Ponferrada, which lies along the Sil River. The Atlantic Ocean moderates the climate in the region. Soils are comprised of decomposed quartzite and slate and mountains provide vineyard locations with variable elevation and aspect. Add a few interesting regional grape varieties and it appears Bierzo has everything necessary to produce interesting wine.
I love the combination of delicate floral aromas, ripe fruit flavors, with zippy acidity and that pop of cedar. Super refreshing and interesting wine.
The blend of 80% Godello (20 to 40 year-old vines) and 20% Doña Blanca (70 to 90 year-old vines) was picked by hand before being chilled for 24 – 48 hours, then gently pressed. Fermentation in stainless steel was followed by 5 months on the fine lees, with stirring, before bottling.
I would not guess the vintage date of this wine by the flavors; bright fruit flavors still persist along with good tannin structure. Hats off to the folks at Godelia, this is such a nice wine.
Once again this wine is sourced from old vines, 50 to 90 years old, and is 100% Mencía. Wood aging took place in 90% French oak, 10% American oak 1/3 of which was new oak.
I find drinking (good) wine made from indigenous varieties in lesser know wine regions so enjoyable. It is always an adventure and an opportunity to learn about a new region and new grape varieties. I love the idea of preserving the native varieties of old world wine regions and when those vines are 50 to 90 years old it’s even more of a pleasure. Add great value, as with both of these wines, and there’s nothing to do except reach for another bottle in the future.