About 100km north of Zamora, the heart of the Toro wine region, you plunge down from 1250 metres into the greener often-precipitous valleys of North Western Spain and as you enter Galicia, into the small wine DO of Valdeorras. It is here where I have spent a few days at Bodegas Godeval understanding the white grape Godello (syn. Verdelho) and the red grape, Mencia at Bodegas Avanthia (which interestingly is housed in the same building) a project of Jorge Ordoñez.
As the name suggests, Godeval was set up by like-minded individuals to rejuvenate the Godello grape that sadly only accounts for 5% of the vineyard. The slate soils and low yielding vines (mostly 30 years) give brightly perfumed wines often with yellow fruits and a mellifluous texture not a million miles away from Albariño grown also here in Galacia.
Mencia is generally a lighter red similar to Cabernet Franc. However, at Avanthia, Amy, the Kiwi winemaker, made wines which showed deeper almost opaque, blood red colours with fruit profiles of damsons, mulberry, prune and raison with plenty of liquorice, nutmeg, star anise and mocha notes. The textures were powdery and whilst the tannins are fine they were massive/solid to downright abrasive in some examples. The grapes were picked during the day and after two nights spent in 2ºC chilling rooms were sorted and destemmed/crushed. The firm ice-cold grapes created far easier sorting conditions than the mush of soft warm grapes as are often the case. The fermentation is fairly straightforward but the barrel program makes use of cigar-shaped barrels purported to help with distributing the lees more effectively to allow more surface area for mannoprotein extraction.
What fascinated me though was the fact that this newly built gravity fed winery had positioned the press 50cm above the destemmer thus requiring the mash to be pumped up a small incline. Secondly, despite the gleaming stainless steel tanks and moreover shiny steel handrails and stairs, the pumps used in the winery were basic impellers when with the sot of money this enterprise cost would have been better using the gentler positive displacement (rotary lobe) pump or at the very least mono pumps with stators.
Apart from this, Amy made a delicious light, fresh Rose from the Mencia grapes…
Tasted: Apart form the Bodegas Avanthis I tasted the Bodega Jesús Nazareno S.C.G. Valdeorras Mencino and their Valdouro labels (see my winewithfriends blog)
Happy rating: 6.5/10