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Bodegas Valdesil

Wines of Perfume and Purity from the Slate-Rich Hills of Valdeorras

It may represent just a pinprick on the Spanish wine map, yet the mineral and slate-rich mountainous region of Valdeorras is one of Europe’s most exciting white wine regions. No grower’s history is as deeply intertwined with the region, or its signature grape variety of Godello, as the Prada-Gayoso family.

Back in 1885, at a time when vineyards were planted with multiple varieties, José Ramón Gayoso planted the region’s first 100% Godello vineyard. This vineyard, named Pedrouzos—with ancient, gnarled vines still in production today—squeezes out just 500 litres of precious juice each year to make one of Spain’s most profound white wines.

All the Valdesil offer the kind of finesse, interest and sense of place found only in the wines of the very best grower-producers of northern Spain.

Pedrouzos is the oldest producing Godello vineyard in the world. Fortunately for us, José Ramón Gayos’s descendants didn’t stop there. Using massale cuttings from the original site, the family populated a mosaic of small vineyards (pezas), across the Sil Valley, predominantly around the village of A Portela. These pezas now form the core holdings of this trailblazing estate. Yet, the Valdesil story does not begin and end with Godello—the indigenous Mencía is also well represented.

In more recent times, Valdesil has continued to act as a regional pioneer in both viticulture and winemaking. The team were the first to introduce vertical shoot positioning, cover crops, strict organic methods and increased planting densities in the area. Valdesil was also among the first to return to natural yeast fermentation and barrel maturation. Current owners Borja and Raul Prada Luengo are also trialling biodynamic methods, a significant undertaking in this cool corner of green Spain. 

The Valdesil wines are products of old vines and low yields and are naturally fermented, aged on lees and bottled unfiltered. Expect textural, mineral whites with a weight and mouthfeel that resemble that of quality white Burgundy. Valdesil’s Mencías are the kind of juicy, thirst-quenching and mineral-scented reds that wine bars were made for.

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Valdesil Godello Sobre Lías 2022

Valdesil Godello Sobre Lías 2022

Valdesil’s ‘estate’ Godello is made from a selection of plots planted on the slate slopes of Vilamartín de Valdeorras. These sites have an average age of 35 years and an altitude of 500 metres. Rooted in blue slate, shale or schist, the plots have different exposures. This means they ripen at different times, thus enabling Valdesil to harvest and vinify them individually. The older vines yield just 22 hl/ha on average, and were grafted from Valdesil’s renowned, 1885-planted Pedrouzos vineyard. Each parcel is hand-harvested and naturally fermented before blending and aging for six months, sobre lías (on lees) in stainless steel.Naturally there is a step up in both depth and texture here. It’s a pristine white with aromas and flavours of candied lemon, white stone fruits, meadow flowers, fennel and a little sea spray. With a fleshy texture and chalky precision balanced by a seamless thread of acidity and smoky citrus finish, you can easily see why some have labelled Valdeorras the Chablis of Spain.

Valdesil Godello Sobre Lías 2022
Valdesil Valderroa Carballo Mencía 2018

Valdesil Valderroa Carballo Mencía 2018

Released in only the best red-wine years, and with age, Carballo is Valdesil’s top Mencía. It’s crafted from a small collection of ancient pezas on the extremely steep, north-facing slopes of Carballeda de Valdeorras - home to some of the highest vines in Galicia, growing in the purest black-slate rock. You might call it one of Raúl Prada’s passion projects.The winemaking is more involved than for the standard Valderroa Mencía. After strict sorting, the grapes are destemmed and fermented in concrete and matured in neutral oak for 16 months. Displaying aromas of sweet dark cherry, liquorice and blood orange, it’s an elegant and refreshing Galician red. Not short of grit, it has impressive length of flavour that rings with a pure cassis note. It would pair beautifully with a Galician sirloin.

Valdesil Valderroa Carballo Mencía 2018

“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

“[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, The Great Whites, The Financial Times

“The Prada Gayosos' dedication to their local grape varieties is clear. They have no fewer than four different Godellos, and two reds from Mencía, which represent a very small volume.” Luis Gutiérrez, jancisrobinson.com

Country

Spain

Primary Region

Valdeorras, Galicia

People

Winemakers: Borja and Raul Prada Luengo

Availability

National

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