There are quite a few things about Spain’s northwestern-most region that diverges from most of the rest of the nation: It’s an Atlantic region, so that means it’s more often exposed to cool, blustery and damp weather as it is to the country’s powerful sun. Galicia also speaks a language other than Spanish – not surprising called Galician – which is as close to Portuguese as it is to Castilian. And ethnically, the Galicians have more Celtic blood than any other people on the Iberian peninsula.
And not surprisingly, with all of Galicia’s differences in linguistic and cultural terms, there is an extension of this divergence into viticulture. There are least a couple of handfuls of wine grapes, both red and white, that are endemic to Galicia. One such variety, and indisputably the region’s most celebrated, is Albarino. Albarino makes a super-bright, clean and “crystalline” wine with gobs of direct fruit flavors. But as I said, there’s more to Galicia than Albarino, and one of the other white grapes for the region deserves fame is Godello.
It might be something of an overstatement to say that Albarino and Godello are polar opposites, but I think that it is fair to say that if Albarino is the affable, gregarious and fun sister, Godello is the more quixotic, sharper and complex one. And though Godello grows in several regions throughout Galicia, the relatively newly designated region of Monterrei, hard by the border with Portugual, demonstrates the greatest potential for this soft but sassy white variety that is an absolutely perfect companion for Galicia’s incomparable seafood, and the Galician kitchen’s simple but very flavorful preparations of it, especially if the aquatic critters on the bill of fare have or once had shells; Godello’s suave and alluring stony/briny structure, and coquettish green fruit flavors and aromas make a dance with the fruits of the sea a veritable cotillion.
So to follow this classic and crazy-good combination, I paired this very pretty but still quite profound white with a pureed white bean, clam and parsley soup, followed by turbot and red fingerling potatoes poached with aromatic vegetables and finished with an onion, garlic, pimenton, olive oil, and lemon juice sauce.
Adega Pazo das Tapias Finca os Cobatos Monterrei Godello 2012
Very pale, “white gold” color. Quite intensely minerally pear, kiwi, and yellow cherry fruit aromas with intriguing notes of vanilla bean, dried ginger, nutmeg, oregano and dried white flowers following close behind. In the mouth the medium weight, slightly unctuous body shows a delicate and elegant character overall sharpened by a discrete but still piercing acidity with “sweet” but still fresh green apple, white peach, key lime and gooseberry fruit framed by a firm and stony matrix-like structure accented by notes of almond and white pepper. Lovely, long, and warm bitterish finish.