Alvarez de Toledo Godello 2018
El Bierzo is a land of grapes and wine. It’s a vine-covered region full of tradition, history, culture, gastronomy and over 2,000 years of wine production. The Alvarez de Toledo family has roots in the region since the early 1500's. Today the estate is overseen by Ángeles Varela Mazón Álvarez de Toledo who has upheld and fine-tuned the viticultural traditions of her forbears. Mencía is the star of the show (ably supported by Godello) and here it is planted 420-500m above sea level, entirely hand-harvested, and the vines are predominantly between 40 and 60 years old.
“Being situated in a valley our climate is mild and humid, and our land has a special microclimate which is ideally suited to the agriculture of the area” describes Álvarez de Toledo. “The soils are composed of a mixture of fine elements such as quartz and slate. They catch water coming from the mountains down into the valleys and the vineyards are planted mainly on humid, dark soil which, being slightly acidic and low in carbonates, is typical of humid climates.”
Encircled by mountains, the dramatic terrain has acted as a partial barrier over the years, shielding the region from excessive external influences, thus allowing it to cultivate its own identity and culture. This strength of personality is exemplified by its calling card, the Mencía grape, which is now certainly having its moment in the sun having been something of a relative unknown on the international scene.
Known for bold reds, crisp whites and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place primary emphasis on its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally hot and dry. In the center of the country lies a vast, arid plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought.
Ribera del Duero is gaining ground for Spanish wines with its single varietal Tempranillo wines, recognized for their concentration of fruit and opulence. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, specializes in bold, full-bodied red blends of Garnacha (Grenache), Cariñena (Carignan), and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate.
Godello is native to northwest Spain and has experienced a major revival in the last 20 years. Godello wines are typically sleek and lightly creamy in texture. Barrel fermentation and lees stirring are typical in Valdeorras, Spain where the grape comes from. These winemaking techniques make the most of Godello's inherent structure and help bring out its lovely floral character. Somm Secret—DNA profiling says that Spain’s Godello is actually identical to the Portugese grape variety Gouveio, which grows throughout the Douro and Dão (where it used to mistakenly be called Verdelho).