This slinky, mineral white hails from Valdeorras (“Valley of Gold”) in eastern Galicia, a region once famous for goldmining and now best known for its unique and complex wines made from the indigenous Godello grape. The wine is named for the river Sil that flows through the region (Xil is its ancient name, used by the Celtic people who once inhabited the area). Many of the river’s tributaries are flanked on either side by vineyards, planted in terraces on steep slate hillsides. The label displays a dozen bridges, symbolizing the idea of crossing from one vineyard plot to another.
Gaba do Xil Godello is produced partially from grapes that are partially estate-grown and partially sourced from long-term suppliers. They come from 4 plots (O Val Grande, O Rasedo, A Torgueira, and O Valverde) located near the Bibei tributary, close to the town of Santa Cruz. This area was abandoned more than 200 years ago after the phylloxera epidemic devastated most of Europe’s vineyards. Dotted with chestnut trees mixed with rockrose, the old granitic terraces barely have enough space to squeeze in the odd row of vines, following the folds of the mountains that plunge into the river. The vines grow in shallow, stony granite soils on terraces facing south, west and northwest. These coarse soils are
low fertility and have low water retention capacity, forcing the vines to struggle and limiting yields.
The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, with native and selected yeasts carrying out alcoholic fermentation.
James Suckling - This really shows what the godello grape can do. A crisp, northerly dry white for Spain with delicate dried-apple, fresh-lemon and herb-jelly notes. Medium-bodied and sleek with a graceful finish.