THE ESSENCE OF GODELLO
Godello is a white wine grape originating in the northwest of Spain, probably in the province of Galicia (north of Portugal). This grape reaches its best results in the small Village of Valdeorras in Galicia, and does not seem to be grown much elsewhere in the world. There are some other regions in Spain like El Bierzo where there is a development of this grape, but in Valdeorras the results are stunning.
Godello is now one of Spain's two premier white wines sitting beside Albariño, another well known Galician grape in that capacity.
The essence of Godello grapes is the minerality and acidity. The extra that distinguishes it from many other serviceable varieties with those qualities, is a richness of fruit and wildflower flavours and a somewhat denser body than the usual all-mineral white vines.
Godello is sometimes mistakenly confused with Verdelho, which is in fact a different grape. This name is sometimes used for Godello and also to define the Portugese Gouveio.
A Phylloxera epidemic hit the region in the 19th century, devastating vineyards and taking Godello to the brink of extinction. To restore the area's devastated vineyards, vast plantations of heavy-cropping Palomino further squeezed what few Godello vines had survived.
While in Andalusia Palomino grapes were famous for producing sherry, at the north of Spain, in Galicia, Palomino tends to make dumb, lifeless wines best suited to quantity rather than quality. Finally, wise heads in the wine industry realised that a simple and cheap wine was not a good way to foment employment and that the sector had to be quickly redirected. Finally, in the 1970s, the Valdeorras Council launched the “Revival Project", recovering Godello grapes from the road of the extinction.
Numerous researches were made to find the most appropriate rootstocks and training methods and addressing the grape’s tendency to mature very rapidly due to serious sunshine exposure in autumn. In all not more than 1,000 square meters (1,200 sq. yards) of vineyard had survived. The surviving Godello vines were around 60 years old, grafted onto a hybrid of Vitis vinifera and rupestris.