Godello is a white grape that originates in Galicia, Spain. Galicia is located just north of Portugal, along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and Cantabrian Sea. This region is known for its rocky terrain and inclement weather. The most well known wine producing DO in Galicia is Rias Baixas, renowned for their refreshing white wines made of Albariño. Godello has a long history in the region, with the oldest known mention dating back to 1531. Godello has thinner skins and grows in tighter bunches than Albariño, making it more prone to fungal diseases but Godello vines are more productive, resulting in higher yields, provided they are grown utilizing good vineyard management. Like so many other vines, Godello was near extinction. In the 1970s, there were a few hundred vines worldwide. It was the Godello Revival Project that reversed this and brought renewed attention to the grape variety. Most of the roughly 3,000 acres are located in Valdeorras DO within Galicia, known for its high quality varietal wines. Plantings have continued to spread and other geographic areas have been allowed by law to include Godello in their wines, either blended or used to make a varietal wine. Godello can also be found just south of Galicia in the Douro region of Portugal. In this area, it can sometimes be listed under the name Verdelho and can be used in blended table wines.
This week, I drank a bottle of 2019 La Revelía from Emilio Moro Bodegas which contained 100% Godello. The grapes were grown in Bierzo DO, a subregion of Castilla y León, further inland and just to the east of Galicia. The wine was a medium lemon color with brassy highlights. Aromas consisted of lemon pith, lemon curd, white grapefruit, ripe green apple, honeysuckle, bread dough, and wet stone. On the palate, this dry wine exhibited a significant level of acidity. The texture was heavier in weight than I anticipated, likely due to winemaking methods and prolonged aging. The front palate was dominated by citrus fruit and white peach character that gave way to the honeysuckle and baguette on the mid palate with notes of green apple and stoney minerality persisting on the finish. The moderate level of alcohol contributed to the refreshing nature of this wine, even with the added heft from oak aging and time on the lees. It could be placed in the cellar to continue to gain complexity, but could also be consumed now to enjoy its brightness. This wine begs to be paired with seafood, like crab legs dipped in lemon butter or scallops topped with a citrus cream sauce, or sipped without regard to food on a warm spring afternoon.