Body: Medium to full
Dry / Sweet: Dry
Acidity: Medium to high
Age: Generally best to drink while young and fresh, although Godello is capable of making wines that improve with age.
Aka: Also known as Verdello in Galacia in northwest Spain and as Gouveio in Portugal.
Godello (go-DAY-oh) is a high quality grape variety native to Galicia in northwest Spain, and is also grown in Portugal. It almost went extinct in the 1970s and was saved by the intervention of some progressive winemakers in Galicia, who understood the quality and potential of this grape. Since then, plantings have increased and Godello’s reputation has risen to the point where some now consider it Spain’s best white grape variety.
It has much in common with Albariño, another native Galician grape, and shares much of its aromatic quality and flavor profile, but has a fuller and silkier texture, as well as more moderate acidity. Aromas of honeysuckle, wild flowers and citrus fruits are followed by flavors of apple, apricot, lemon, lime, nectarine and white peach, as well as interesting mineral notes.
Most wines are unoaked and vinified in stainless steel tanks, which maximises mineral notes and the pure fruit flavors of the grape. These unoaked wines are generally more popular and can be truly wonderful.
However, if you are more inclined to richer wines, look for oaked examples. When the grapes are harvested late and fermented and aged on their lees in large oak barrels, they are even more full bodied and display additional vanilla and buttery flavors. These oaked versions can be quite remarkable and resemble great white Burgundy or even Viognier from the Northern Rhône.
As well as making varietal wines, Godello is also blended very successfully with other local grapes such as Albariño, Doña Blanco and Treixadura. Occasionally, it can be slightly spritzy, as a result of a small amount of carbon dioxide gas dissolved in the wines, which is released when the bottle is opened.
Generally, it’s best to drink Godello when it’s young and fresh, although it is capable of making wines that improve with age, especially when oaked.
Godello is making some very exciting wines today and many offer great value for money. Expect to hear a lot more of this grape as the wine world discovers its charm and quality.
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