Spanish Wine Review: Avanthia Godello 2011

by mary on April 9, 2013

Avanthia Godello Spanish wine

Can’t go too long without rating a wine from my favorite Spanish white grape Godello! The Avanthia is a longtime favorite from the Jorge Ordoñez wine group, one of the biggest importers of Spanish wines in the US. It’s a little pricier than my normal recommendations but it also has a corresponding level of richness and complexity. The 2011, a leaner year, is a great example of how Godello can be such a mineral, fresh, intense grape. I really love this grape and this wine in this vintage! The nice thing about Jorge Ordoñez wines, which I hated when I lived in Spain, is that you can often get them cheaper in the US than in Spain! This wine costs about 23€ in Spain, and I see it around 25$ here in the US…awesome!

This Godello is from Valdeorras, a wine area Galicia in northwestern Spain. It is actually in eastern Galicia, right on the border with The Castilian region of Bierzo. The area is known only for two grapes, Godello for whites and the excellent Mencía for reds. Bodegas Avanthia makes a very good Mencía that is very hard to find because of small production.

Godello is a grape that has wonderful potential, but can be ruined by being planted on middling or indifferent titles and cultivated at high yields. You can find a lot of these very bland Godellos locally if you visit the region or neighboring wine region, Bierzo. But the real strength of Spain’s northwest, is that there are a lot of really great sites, with poor and interesting soils, on slopes, often at altitudes, that can really make the local varieties shine.

This wine is from such parcels, terraced vineyards from 1350-1650 ft in altitude with mostly chalk and granite soils and planted in 1975. The wine in fermented in large format French oak barrels (500-600l) and subsequent aged in the similar barrels for about 7 months.

So besides the good acidity and minerality than shines in the wine, you also get some nice lees and spice aromas. The friendly and attractive side of Godello still shows through, floral and fruit, such as melon, stone fruit and in this vintage, plenty of citric notes. Godello usually gives a medium full mouth on its own and with oak often a full body,but in this vintage it’s a little leaner than usual. But still round, long and very satisfying!

I love the simple, fresh, entry-level styles of Godello that are such amazing value, such as Valdesil’s basic Godello. Then we can a step up to crisp, mineral complexity at an everyday price with Rafael Palacios’ Louro do Bolo. With this Avanthia, and with especially with Rafael’s As Sortes, we are seeing the top end of what Godello can produce when you pair great terroir and respectful vineyard and winery practices! It makes for exciting Spanish wine at all price points!

Godello is still not common in the US. Have you tried it? What did you think?


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