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Valdesil: Striking, Mineral Whites from the ‘Chablis of Spain’

Valdesil: Striking, Mineral Whites from the ‘Chablis of Spain’

[Valdesil is] “...a producer who has been shaking up one of the most exciting white wine regions in Spain, in the cool, green, far northwest. Godello is the revitalised local grape variety…” Jancis Robinson MW, The Great Whites, Financial Times

“I know I’m starting to sound like a stuck record but I am loving the dry whites of north-western Iberia more and more... Luis (Gutiérrez), 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 life expectancies.” Jancis Robinson MW, www.jancisrobinson.com

“Choose Godello and you can’t go wrong. That was our verdict from a most enjoyable tasting.” Decanter Panel Tasting, June 2022

Lovers of pulpy and vibrant European whites, please make your way to the front. The slate-rich hillsides of Valdeorras are one of Spain’s smallest and most exciting white wine regions. And no grower has a history so entwined with the region—or its signature grape variety, Godello—as the Prada-Gayoso family. Back in 1885, José Ramón Gayoso planted what was, as far as we know, the region’s first 100% Godello vineyard—at that time vineyards were interplanted with multiple varieties. This vineyard was named Pedrouzos and is today the oldest Godello vineyard in the world. Remarkably, these ancient, gnarled vines are still in production today, squeezing out just 500 litres of precious juice each year to make one of Spain’s most profound white wines. Fortunately for us, José Ramón Gayoso’s descendants didn’t stop there. Using massale cuttings from Pedrouzos, the family went on to populate a mosaic of small vineyards (pezas) across the Sil Valley, predominantly around the village of Portela. Today, these pezas form the core holdings of this historic yet trailblazing estate.

In more recent times Valdesil have continued to act as regional pioneers in both viticulture and winemaking. They were the first to introduce vertical shoot positioning, cover crops, strict organic methods and increased planting densities. On the winemaking front, Valdesil were among the first to return to natural yeast fermentation and barrel maturation. Current owner Borja Prada Luengo is also trialling biodynamic methods, a significant challenge in Valdeorras’ sometimes cool, damp climate. This is not a producer resting on its laurels.

Below we offer Valdesil’s premium, estate-grown Godello wines as well as their entry-level Montenovo made from 50% purchased fruit. These are not simple, crisp varietal whites. They are wines born from old vines and low yields and are naturally fermented, unfiltered and aged on lees. Expect textural, vibrant and mineral whites that have a weight and silky mouthfeel that reminds us of quality white Burgundy. They offer the kind of finesse, interest and sense of place found only in the wines of the very best grower-producers of northern Spain.

The Wines

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