Posted by: tomciocco | August 13, 2014

GETTING BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM A FRIEND (IN GALICIA)

In large part, Spain’s cool and green northwesternmost region of Galicia is still an unknown quantity to most wine drinkers. Yes, there are two grapes, one white and the other red, in the form of Albarino and Mencia respectively, have made a small dent in the market, but even these heaviest hitting Galician varieties don’t swing even a small fraction of the weight that other Spanish varieties like Verdejo (a white) and the very fine and ubiquitous Tempranillo do. It’s not even close.

But in this evening’s case we’re discussing a wine constructed from a blend of two Galician varieties that while are not ultra-rarities, are nonethelss not on the radar of most wine drinkers, namely two grapes known as Godello and Treixadura. Typically, Godello, which is a very fine white grape variety that thrives in dry conditions and is known for its supremely elegant and slightly austere acidity and minerally mouthfeel, is vinified and bottled solo. As a rule, Godello is so much more about its performance on the palate than its olfactory characteristics but its scents are often slightly shy and muted which makes it a superb match for the intense sweetness of crustaceans and the briny punch of shellfish.

 Enter Treixadura (a.k.a. Trajadura as it is known in the Minho and Vinho Verde regions over the border in Portugal), stage left. Treixadura, though a high quality grape in its own right, is rarely if ever encountered in an unblended bottle. On both sides of the Spanish/Portuguese border, Treixadura is typically mixed with other local varieties like Albarino, Loureiro, and Perderna for the pretty white fruit notes and golden color that it brings to the party. But for all its wonderful aromas, Treixadura lacks a bit of acidity and structure in general, so it is rarely the best choice to stand alone.

 But like most if not all marriages or friendships, these two grapes beautifully fill in the other’s gaps, with Godello providing a taut and sexy physique in and on which to hang Treixadura’s sweet and slightly perfumed aromas. It’s often said that “You gotta have friends”, and this very appealing wine is the perfect oenological analog to demonstrate the truth of this old maxim.

A first course of grilled chorizo over a puree` of white beans flavored with lemon, bay leaf and cilantro and a main course of turbot in green sauce (with parsley, peas, white wine and lots of garlic in a very light roux) paired most amicably at the table with this fresh and dynamic amalgamated white.

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Via Arxentea Monterrei 2012

Slightly greenish, medium golden color. Very expressive nose of peach, apple, pear, cut grass, fresh sage, caramel flan, candied fennel, and broom. The palate has a medium-weight body with a fresh and clean acidity with elegant but still quite concentrated with flavors of green fig, lime, citron, and boiled peanuts, all underlaid by a smoothly polished minerality. Softly bitter finish. A real charmer

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