One of the best things about Spanish wines is how well they work with food. Whenever I am at a restaurant looking for a glass of wine, if nothing else jumps out, I will normally try a wine from Spain. Spain produces a ton of wine, third most in the world behind Italy and France. The warm climate allows for so many affordable values which translates wonderfully for restaurant wine lists. In fact, tasting wines out at dinner is one of the major ways I find wine selections for our stores, like today's wines from Bodegas Avancia. A local restaurant who specialized in fish used to pour the Godello Cuvée O by the glass. One night, when ordering a whole fish dish, Branzino I believe, they recommended Godello Cuvée O which was perfect; it had good body without being heavy and plenty of fresh acidity. We have carried it ever since and after recently tasting their Mencía, I thought we should share these wines with you.
Galicia is located in northwest Spain, just above Portugal. The area is best known for the very popular Albariño grape, grown on the coast in Rías Baixas, a dramatically beautiful region with green cliffs running right into the ocean. Today, we are moving inland due east to Valdeorras, this area translates in Latin to "Valley of Gold" due to the gold mining done here by the Romans. There is no maritime influence here, but they have high-elevation vineyards and the white and red wines, while not made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but Godello and Mencía are said to mimic Burgundy, France in style.
These wines are imported by Jorge Ordóñez, who has a home on the Cape in Truro. Jorge started importing Spanish wine in 1987 with the goal of championing indigenous grapes that were being ignored or uprooted. At that time, many viewed wines from Spain only as cheap, bulk wines and Jorge knew of the rich history of these wines and that these old vine offerings would be very popular here in the US if there was someone to import and promote them. Ordóñez was one of the first to import and introduce varietals such as Albariño, Godello, Garnacha, Monastrell and Tinta de Toro.
Jorge was the first to introduce Godello into the United States and he always dreamed of having his own Godello project - Bodegas Avancia is the result of this dream. Bodegas Avancia produces possibly the finest Godello based wines in all of Spain. In 2016, Robert Parker stated “One of my favorite wineries in Spain is Bodegas Avancia. This is a small estate of roughly 23 acres, dry farmed with organic viticulture. Their specialty is working with the Godello grape, which may well be Spain’s finest indigenous white grape. Avancia is certainly the top producer of this intriguing and delicious dry white.” Valdeorras also has perfect growing conditions for Mencía which is the main red grape of Galicia. Jorge chose this area for the warm climate with slate soils in high altitudes, perfect for these old vine red grapes. While lots of people like to say Mencía is Spain's answer to French Burgundy, I agree much more with the review below by Luis Gutierrez saying this wine is reminiscent of unoaked, Northern Rhône Syrah.
These wines are both great on their own but really sing on the dinner table when you pair with foods. Try the Godello with lots of seafood dishes, from scallops to cod and everything in between. The Mencía is great with firm cheeses like Manchego but is versatile enough to work with beef or chicken too. A mixed case of six bottles each and you are covered for dinner wines for a while!
93 Points - James Suckling "Beautifully fresh and attractively pure lemon and pear aromas with a powdery, floral edge that really charms. The palate has a very fresh and fleshy array of white pears and peaches with a chalky, fine-stone tang on the finish. Really delicious. Drink now."
92 Points - Jeb Dunnuck "Bottled a month ago, the 2018 Cuvée de O Godello is 100% Godello that spent 6 months on lees with plenty of bâtonnage. From 40- to 70-year-old vines planted all in slate, it offers an exotic nose of crushed lime, pineapple, mint, and distinct minerality. Medium-bodied, juicy, and balanced on the palate, with good acidity and a clean, crisp finish, drink this classy white any time over the coming 3-4 years."
90 Points - Jeb Dunnuck "The 2017 Cuvée de O Mencía checks in as all dry-farmed, old-vine Mencia (these vines were planted between 40 and 60 years ago) that was brought up in used barrels. This ruby-colored effort gives up complex notes of black raspberries, ground pepper, lavender, and herbs de Provence notes. It's medium-bodied, has a rounded, supple texture, beautiful fruit, and loads of character."
90 Points - Wine Advocate "The smoky and meaty red 2017 Cuvee de O Mencía is the old-vine cuvée, mostly Mencía, but in the old vines, there's always a small percentage of Garnacha Tintorera, Mouratón (Juan García), Gran Negro, Sousón, Cariñena ... perhaps coming up to 10% of the volume. It fermented in flextank with uncrushed berries and neutral yeasts and matured in used French barriques for eight months. It transported me to the slopes of the Northern Rhône, as it feels like a juicy unoaked Syrah, with some grainy tannins and enough of everything to stand up to hearty food. Very tasty. 18,000 bottles. It was bottled in July 2018." - Luis Gutierrez
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