Buy 6 bottles of Rafael Palacios 2020 "Louro" Val do Bibei Godello
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Your Price: $25.19/bottle
Valdeorras is a DO (Denominacion de Origen) winegrowing zone on the mountainous, easternmost fringes of Galicia, north-western Spain. Situated around the two towns of O Barco and A Rua on the river Sil, the region’s flagship white wine is based around the renascent Godello grape grown on the sloped hillsides around the river.
Godello had a close brush with extinction in the 20th Century, with only a few hundred of its vines remaining by the 1970s. Thanks to a project to rescue this grape variety led by Horacio Fernandez and Luis Hidalgos, there are now more than 1000 hectares (2,471 acres) of Godello vines in its native home of Galicia.
The wines produced from the Godello grape are particularly well known, with plenty of varietal characters of citrus fruit, herbs, and mineral/earth notes. As quaffable and enjoyable as Godello can be from Valdeorras, in the hands of Rafael Palacios, it reaches the level of richness, balance, and complexity.
Having left his family’s estate in Rioja in 2004, Palacios settled in the Val do Bibei, a rugged, weathered, and off-the-beaten path sub-zone of Valdeorras. Bordering Ribera Sacra, the Val do Bibei is a tortured landscape of granitic, terraced slopes dotted with hard-to-reach and hard-to-farm vineyard plots. Whereas most of the rest of the DO is at a lower elevation with limestone and schist soils, Palacios works exclusively with Godello planted on granitic soils at much higher elevations, so high that late Spring snow and frost are ever-present dangers to his already low yields.
Some plots he owns outright, while others are on a long-term lease. The oldest vines, some nearing an hundred years old, are head pruned while the younger vines on more gentle slopes are trellised. The farming is minimalist since the sub-zone is blessed with free draining soils and warm, dry summers. All the vineyard work is done by hand, including harvesting.
The ‘Louro’ is a cuvee from the sandy, granitic soils of the Val do Bibei, and is a blend of Godello with a small amount of Treixadura. It has characteristics of crisp acidity, flavors of lemon, lime, apple, and pear, with a hint of that mysterious quality of minerality. Enjoy this wine on its own as an aperitif, or with light fish dishes and shellfish.