This marvellous, revitalised Estate is emblematic of the return-to-terroir manifesto that can now be witnessed throughout the finest European wine regions. Over the past five years we have seen an almost dizzying rise in the quality of wines from this Galician producer. Since the early 2000s, the family has been purchasing back many of the tiny treasured Godello ‘pezas’ (plots) that were sold under the last generation – those that their ancestor José Ramón Gayoso had lovingly cultivated since 1855. Harnessing the massive potential of this earthly resource through lower yields, dedicated vineyard management and winemaker Cristina Mantilla’s midas touch with Godello, Valdesil are now releasing some of the most exciting white wines from Spain. This makes sense; Valdesil has some of the oldest Godello vines in existence, as well as some of the most dramatic vineyard sites, including some stunning, old vined pezas planted on broken blue slate rising up from the banks of the River Sil. These striking Galician vineyards have an almost Mosel feel about them.
Valdeorras is a tiny region on the north bank of the River Sil which lies between the towns of O Barco to A Rúa, just south west of Bierzo. It is an isolated, almost hauntingly beautiful D.O. situated at high altitude: Valdesil’s Godello vineyards are among the highest vineyards in Spain. Located in a warm valley between towering mountains, the vines of Valdeorras receive a higher exposure to the light than other Galician regions.
When tasting these wines it is remarkable to ponder that Godello almost slipped into extinction after the ravages of phylloxera. Just as Rias Baixas rediscovered Albariño and Rueda came desperately close to losing Verdejo, the Valdeorras region somehow managed to pull Godello back from the brink. Since 1974 it has enjoyed a sort of resurgence, to the extent that it is now widely held to produce some of Spain’s finest dry white wines.
Valdesil’s whites have always been tasty examples of Godello. Under the new regime they wear their terroir on their sleeve, offering more mountainous, slaty resonance, density of matter, minerality and crispness than ever before.
We also sell the excellent red Mencía from this producer. Mencía is to Valderroas what white Godello is to this remarkable part of Galicia - an indigenous grape capable of delivering ethereal fruit flavours with plunging minerality. Wine bars were created to serve wines like these.