2015 Bodegas Godelia, Godello-Doña Blanco, Bierzo, Spain
Wine of the Week with Annette Tomei
Despite being one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world, Spain continues to enthrall the global wine market with wines that range from traditional to unique and experimental. Many of us are familiar with Spanish wine regions like Rioja, Rueda, and Ribera del Duero. This week, let’s explore another within the popular Castilla y Leon (neighbor of Rioja, home of the other two popular regions). And we’ll discover a wine for cheese lovers.
Bierzo is located in the northwestern part of Castilla y Leon near the border with Galicia. Climatically, it is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean (it’s much cooler than more inland growing regions). Grapes have grown here for a couple thousand years, but they were not a big part of the economy until the 20th century. Bierzo produces red and white wines. Reds are made from the Mencia and Grenacha grapes, whites from Godello (aka Verdelho), Doña Blanco, and Palomino.
The Godello grape is native to Galicia. It is an early-ripening, small berried fruit that grows in tight bunches. It prefers dry climates because of it’s sensitive to mold. Doña Blanco is an obscure variety that is also found in Portugal (as is Godello). Both are often used in white Porto. Doña Blanco is a thick-skinned grape with low acidity, but strong aromatic properties.
About this Wine–wine for cheese lovers!
Bodegas Godelia is a relatively new producer for Bierzo. Though they have some newer plantings, most vines are over 100 year old plantings growing on high-altitude, rocky slopes. This particular wine is a blend of 80% Godello with 20% Doña Blanco that is aged for 5 months on its lies before bottling.
Initial aromas of yeasty brioche and quince paste open to include ripe yellow apples, white pepper, sweet spices, and hint of white flowers. On the palate, there are many layers of apple-ness in all colors, cooked and fresh. Also, lemon curd and a touch of prickly white pepper on sides. It is medium bodied (13.5% ABV) with good acidity, some astringency, and a long mineral finish.
As with most Old World wines, this one is even better with food. I’m not usually one for the typical wine and cheese pairings, but this was awesome with a ripe, stinky, washed rind cheese. Of course, The flavors of Spain are always a good choice – try this one with a pot of mussels with chorizo, or a piquillo pepper and mushroom preparation if you prefer to skip the meat.
I’ve definitely been on a Spanish wine kick lately. They are most often well within my price range, they go great with food, and they are readily available in the US market. At $15-18/bottle, this one is a perfect weekend dinner party wine – cook up some tapas and enjoy!
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