Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Grape Spotlight: Crossing the Ponte Romano de Éntoma to Virgen del Galir Godello

Ponte Romano de Éntoma
via Camino de Santiago
The Ponte Romano de Éntoma -- a stone bridge over the Rio Galir in the village of Éntoma and built by the Romans over two thousand years ago. It is even still usable today for pilgrims on the Camino Invierno de Santiago's winter route.  The bridge was constructed most likely to facilitate the transportation of gold from the encompassing Valdeorras (“Valley of Gold”) region. This area is located in southeastern Galacia and not to be confused with the coastal Rias Baixas. Gold mining eventually transitioned to slate once that precious metal had been extracted - but the Romans left an additional legacy: vineyards. And possibly the first vines planted in Galacia.

As Galicia's most inland region, Valdeorras has a predominantly continental climate, experiencing warm summers, cold winters, and mild autumns and springs, although the Atlantic Ocean to the west also exerts an influence (wine-searcher.com). And as a result of natural cross-breeding or mutations, the autochthonous grape variety Godello emerged as a dominant white grape. Yet, in the 19th century, most vineyards in Valdeorras suffered from multiple pests - most voraciously by phylloxera. In the 20th century, vineyards rebounded. The Valdeorras DO was created in 1945 and 25 years later Godello was reintroduced on a large scale - becoming the signature grape of the appellation.

More recently, in the 21st century, the Rioja powerhouse CVNE purchased the Virgen del Galir, a noted winery in Valdeorras located just outside of the village of Éntoma. The winery owns 20 hectares of high altitude vineyards planted at 30% inclination and with soil composed of decomposed slate. Since the winery's inception in 2002, Godello has been a major attraction - like the 2018 Pagos del Galir Godello ($21). The grapes are fermented in stainless steel and then rest on their lees for four months which helps provide a silky elegance. The wine also features characteristics of lemons, minerality, and fresh acidity. An excellent option.

Disclosure: We received samples from CVNE in order to share our opinion about their products, but this isn’t a sponsored post.

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