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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
15 Jun 2012

From €4.25, $6.99, £7.99

Find a Godello near you

The more I taste this north-west Spanish white wine variety, the more I love it. Our Spanish specialist published his own paean of praise, The greatness of Godello, last October. The image shows the sort of slate into which some of the best Godello vines insinuate their roots. As we detail in our forthcoming book Wine Grapes (this phrase will recur frequently on this site, I fear), the variety was almost extinct in the 1970s but was deliberately fanned back to life by two determined saviours.

I think it was Rafael Palacios, As Sortes Godello Valdeorras that first drew to my attention the obvious nobility of this grape variety that combines the structure of white burgundy with the finesse of a juicily mineral grape. I made sure to include this pioneering wine when, a few years ago, I had to present an array of wines to demonstrate modern Spanish wine prowess. Since then the price of As Sortes has climbed to well over £20 a bottle and I am more likely to order its more precocious little brother Rafael Palacios, Louro do Bolo Godello Valdeorras at around half this price.

I recently had a chance to compare the Louro do Bolo 2010 and 2011 and particularly enjoyed the younger wine even though, as Luis points out, Godello is a variety that is well capable of making wines that improve with age. Indeed the Louro do Bolo 2009 currently on sale at Berry Bros at £16.45 tastes as though it is in the prime of life. Luis, quite rightly, is a particular fan of the wines of Valdesil of Valdeorras, who also make a range of wines of differing quality levels and and life expectancies. In the UK we are able to choose from the fine (if very low on stock) Valdesil Godello 2010 Valdeorras at £15.12 from Waitrose and the company's most basic bottling Valdesil, Montenovo Godello 2010 Valdeorras for as little as £7.99 if two bottles are bought from Majestic.

The grape can be found in other parts of the cool, green north west of Spain, too, notably Ribeira Sacra. I was particularly impressed recently by the unoaked version of Peña das Donas, Almalarga Godello 2010 Ribeira Sacra, which is temporarily out of stock on Lea & Sandeman's website but they expect to reinstate it on Monday at £13.95 per single bottle (£12.95 when 11 more mixed bottles are bought).

The Sampler website and shops in London have a terrific and very distinctive, jazzily labelled, fully mature example in Soto del Vicario, Go de Godello 2008 Bierzo at £20.50 a bottle (very much more successful than the same producer's Men de Mencia 2008, as is reflected in the latter's price of £12.30). This has a wonderfully tertiary, fully developed bouquet with a firm, minerally spine.

Among other mass retailers in the UK, Marks & Spencer list Pazos del Rey Godello 2011 Monterrei at £7.99, which is perfectly serviceable although a little muted. It is surely only a matter of time before we are offered a Tesco Finest* Godello?

I'm sure they exist but I have yet to encounter a seriously disappointing Godello (with the possible exception of Martín Codax, Maria Martin Godello 2009 Monterrei tasted a year ago), so have given one of my most general links to wine-searcher's stockists below. Just ensure that you enter your location in the relevant box.

Find a Godello near you