Godello gracious me…

On my recent trip to Spain, I was constantly on the look out for great white wines. Spanish whites have become so good, so interesting and at their best, so delicious that I enjoy trying them. Added to that, they suit the summer temperatures more than red wines and partner pretty much all Spanish food better, in my opinion anyway.

This summer I was fortunate enough to stumble across this wine from the wine region of Valdeorras that is just to the west of Castilla y León’s Bierzo region. It is actually in Galicia, the cool Atlantic influenced part of the country that is often known as ‘Green Spain’. Valdeorras is the most inland of the wine regions of Galicia and therefore has the least coastal influence allowing it to produce wines with great ripeness. It is a small region, boasting only a handful of producers, but quality can be very good indeed:

loubl08_det_1Louro do Bolo Godello Lias Finas 2008
Bodegas Rafael Palacios, D.O. Valdeorras

The colour is pale while the aroma is fresh, floral and zesty with wafts of green apples and wild herbs as well as a delicate leesy smokiness making it very appetising and attractive.

The palate is rounded, full flavoured and unusually concentrated which makes it deliciously drinkable with the richness balancing the acidity and giving a creamy mouth feel to the wine. The creamy spiciness as a result of the lees ageing and ripeness is quite thrilling while the finish is very long with clean citrus notes and complex savoury herbal characters.

This is a great white wine, perfect with a grilled swordfish steak or seabass.

As soon as I can I will review Rafael’s top white, his As Sortes Godello – so watch this space.

Pago de Tharsys – excitement in Valencia

After ten days or so of holiday in Spain I was feeling in an adventurous mood and had stayed still for long enough. I needed a road trip and so set off to see something of the emerging wine region of Utiel-Requena.

This region is in Valencia, but don’t let that fool you, it is deep inland and is very different from the Costas. The wines from Valencia are suddenly for sale everywhere in the region, whereas in the past you really had to hunt them out. There are at least three reasons for this, that I can see:

Firstly there was an anti Catalan back-lash recently which resulted in a transfer of allegiance from the big Catalan Cava brands to local producers, which can be very good indeed.

Secondly there is a real resurgence in Valencian nationalism and reawakening of local culture.

Thirdly the wines of the region have become much better, at all levels and show signs of real ambition.

I wanted to visit one of the very best and most ambitious, an estate that has developed a huge following in Spain: Pago de Tharsys.

This lovely estate is within the Denomiacion de Origen of Utiel-Requena and is actually situated on the outskirts of the town of Requena itself – and what a town it is. It has everything you want from a Spanish town, ramblas, an old centre, an Alcazar or citadel and a castle as well as giving the impression that every building is a bar or restaurant. I loved the place, it is the real Spain and well worth a visit.

CIMG0526 Continue reading

Specialist Jeroboam ageing machine that cost €1

I enjoy looking at cellar equipment and I loved this at Pago de Tharsys, a piece of specialist equipment to age their jeroboams of Cava.

It does the job brilliantly and yet only cost them a Euro – actually they have 2, so it was €2 well spent as the finished wine is very good indeed!


Agua de Valencia

Valencia mapYou may have wondered why I have been so quiet of late, well, I spent my Summer holiday in Xabia/Javea in the Spanish region of Valencia and for the first time, in many years of going to this part of Spain, Cavas from Valencia filled the Cava shelves in the local shops.


Until this year you had to seek out the local producers as the Catalan giants dominated, so I felt duty bound to check out the new kids on the block. I love sparkling wine and a good Cava can be the perfect drink in Spain during the summer.

Most local Cava houses are small and expensive, so this trend has really resulted in wines from two producers becoming much more widely available and much, much more visible. Continue reading