Thursday's Thrill: Pagos del Galir Godello from Galicia

So many wine regions, so little time! I just popped the cork on a beautiful white wine from Spain’s Galicia region. The winery, Bodegas Virxe del Galir, is in the small area of Valdeorras (which means The Valley of Gold). Here, the elegant Godello wines are worth their weight in gold!

THE WINEMAKING REGION - GALICIA

Located in the northwest corner of Spain, bordering the Atlantic coastline, Galicia is known as 'Green Spain,' for its lush vegetation. The high amount of rainfall and humidity, especially compared to most other Spanish wine regions that are hot and dry, makes Galicia look a lot like Ireland!

Within Galicia, there are five wine “DOs” (denominated wine regions): Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra, Rías Baixas, Monterrei, and Valdeorras. The cool, maritime climate is particularly suitable for making light, acid-driven white wines — perfect accompaniments to the abundant local seafood.

Galicia’s wine areas.  ( Map courtesy of Wine Stats).

Galicia’s wine areas. (Map courtesy of Wine Stats).

VALDEORRAS D.O.

Valdeorras’ name, The Valley of Gold, comes from ancient times when Romans arrived to mine the area for gold. While there, they planted vines and many people believe that Valdeorras could be the oldest wine growing area of Galicia. Today, it is mostly known for white wines made from native Godello grapes, although the small-in-quantity, rich and earthy Mencía reds are worth getting to know as well.

Depending on how it’s produced, Godello can express itself in two distinct styles. “Godello can be made with a minerally, slate-infused approach that emphasizes crisp acidity and vivid citrus flavors (think Chablis),” says Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast Magazine. “However, another style using fruit harvested later in the season that’s fermented and aged in large oak barrels holds amazing potential.”

THE WINERY

Bodegas Virxe de Galir

The Virxe del Galir winery was founded in 2002 in Éntoma, a small village in Orense, Galicia. The Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James), a medieval pilgrimage route (now a well-trodden tourist walking path), crosses through the village and leads to the shrine of Saint James the Great.

Although founded just 17 years ago, the winery has origins in the 17th century, when there was an inn called the ‘House of the Garcia’ that belonged to the ancestors of the current owners. Wine made from the surrounding vineyards was consumed at the inn, as well as transported, using moleskins, to the adjoining neighborhoods.

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Bodegas Virxe de Galir owns 20 hectares of vineyards on practically as many plots. The vineyards of the winery are more than 600 meters above sea level, rising on slate terrain in the form of terraces, which tends to give the wines a mineral aspect, with a great depth of flavor.

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THE WINE

Pagos del Galir Godello 2017.

This 100% Godello comes from vineyards that receive abundant sunshine. The wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks, followed by 5 months of aging on its lees (the dead yeast cells). The alcohol content is 13.5% by volume.

Tasting notes: Beautiful aromatics of peaches and white flowers jump out of the glass. The wine delivers a dry taste of citrus and honey with a round and creamy texture, along with a refreshing saline-like acidity.

Food Pairing: The aging on the lees gives the wine a wonderful complexity and lush mouthfeel, making it perfect for pairing with oily fishes, white meats, cheeses and most appetizers.

WHERE TO FIND THE WINE

The suggested retail price is $17 and it can be found at your favorite restaurants and wine shops. See wine-searcher.com to find out where to purchase the wine.