Some of the most intricate white wines being made these days are being drawn from the Northwest of Spain. There you have a wonderful display of minerality that perfectly balances out rich and creamy hedonism. I’m not talking about Albarino, though that is the grape that gets exported and talked about the most. But, if you ask any Spaniard what they’re drinking it’s likely not Albarino — because they have something even better.
The ‘grand cru’ white wine that has been experiencing a Renaissance since the 1980’s are the wines made from the Godello grape. Originating from just outside of Valencia in the town of Godella, Godello is known for its ageability and was widely planted in Northern Spain and Portugal throughout the early 20th century before nearly going extinct in the 1970’s. Why it didn’t is up for debate, though most of the credit belongs to Bodegas Avancia, the winery who Robert Parker, Jr. declared as making the finest Godello in all of Spain.
Snuggled high in the mountainside of Valdeorras, (widely considered the best sub-region for Godello) Bodegas Avancia looks down on the Sil River below. A town once known for gold mining, ironic considering what lies beneath Bodegas Avancia is a gold pile of sorts– pure slate soils intermixed with broken quartz, the jackpot combo for elite Godello. But even better, Avancia is one of less than a handful of producers of single-vineyard Godello in the entire country, with the luxury of working off an extraordinary vineyard with old vines first planted in 1904!
If you are going to try something completely new this season this should be it. Admittingly, precious little Godello ever makes it stateside, but the Avancia is undoubtedly the best I’ve ever had. But you don’t have to take my word for it – though you should.
Vinous raved, calling out the wine’s “outstanding depth as well as finesse” and giving it 93 points. James Suckling echoed the sentiment with his own 93 points score, obviously influenced by its “electrifying acidity.” But, Jeb Dunnuck, the former New World critic for Robert Parker Wine Advocate may have called it best. He deemed this Godello to be “beautifully textured”, “multi-dimensional” and “brilliant” before lobbing on a 96 point score!
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96 Points, Jeb Dunnuck
The old vine cuvée is the 2017 Godello, which is 100% Godello brought up all in barrels, 15% being new. It has a touch of green in its light gold color and gives up loads of crushed citrus, tart pineapple, and salty minerality. Beautifully textured, medium to full-bodied, multi-dimensional, and incredibly layered on the palate, it has bright acidity and an awesome finish. This brilliant wine can be drunk today or cellared for upwards of a decade.
93 Points, Vinous
Light, greenish yellow. Sharply focused Meyer lemon, poached pear and honeysuckle aromas are lifted by a smoky mineral nuance and a spicy ginger flourish. Silky and sharply delineated on the palate, offering vibrant orchard and citrus fruit flavors that unfurl slowly with aeration. Shows outstanding depth as well as finesse, finishing sappy and impressively long, with resonating floral, mineral notes and a sexy floral nuance.
93 Points, James Suckling
Orange and cherry blossom feature in prominence here, while apricots and peaches take a supporting role. The medium-bodied and waxy palate really takes off as soon as you notice the electrifying acidity that this boasts. Medium-long on the finish. Drink now.
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