Trekking to Bierzo

If your neighborhood wine merchant features “Staff Picks” or wine critics’ recommendations, I suggest browsing those selections for new finds and, often, great values.

That’s how, from South Africa, my travels via wine led me to the Spanish realm and the 2012 Godelia White.

 41 - Godelia

Not only is the Godelia property situated in a wine region I’d not heard of—El Bierzo—the grapes were unfamiliar to me. This white is an 80%-20% blend of Godello and Doña Blanca.

El Bierzo, a small, mountainous region due east of Galicia in the country’s northwest, is apparently carving out its identity as a serious source of wine. While Godello is the signature white grape of the area, on the red side it’s Mencía—the grape of the exalted wines of Ribeira Sacra, down the road a bit west of Bierzo.

Perhaps the poor man’s Albariño, Godello-based wines can provide the fruitiness and acidity of Galicia’s higher-profile whites, at a sweeter (lower!) price. Doña Blanca (Dona Branca in Portugal) is not generally grown outside the Iberian peninsula. A thick-skinned grape, it was used to produce white Port but now is more commonly blended with other whites to make table wines.

Godelia’s winemakers describe Godello and Doña Blanca as each having strong personalities that, blended together, yield “elegance and aromatic complexity, with dominant floral and fruity notes.”

On the nose, I got a cloud of sea air and minerals. It drinks with a tang of citrus. Beautiful, and only $14 (Buy Rite)!

Godelia also produces, under their Selección label, a 100% Godello as well as several 100% Mencía wines, including a sweet rendition named Libamus.

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