Godello Wine: A Guide

godello wine

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The English word “wine” comes from the word winam, which means grapes.

Spain claims to have more than 400 unique grape varieties which produce top quality wines. Grapes of Spain have the capability of producing one of the best white wines. Godello, pronounced as ‘Go-dey-yo’, is a type of white wine which is a hidden gem, originally made from the white grapes grown in Spain, particularly in Galicia, on Spain’s northern Atlantic coast. It is also known by the names Gouveio, Agudello, and Verdello. Godello is known as Gouveio in Portugal and Agudelo in France.

The History of Godello:

This variety of grapes with white skin colour was planted in the 19th century by a localite in Campo Olivar plantation by the Baron of the township. It originated in the town of Godella in Valencia. It is said that initially in the 1900s the vineyards were transported and planted by a Galician trader who took samples to Galicia. It is made from a rare variety of grape from the Iberian peninsula which gives a burst of exotic flavors of briny grapefruit. It is now the base for many different quality wines . Godello makes for a great spring or summer white. Recent DNA profiling findings revealed that Godello, Gouveio, Gouveio Roxo and Verdelho do Dao share the same DNA. It came close to extinction in the 1970s but was revived by two people, Horacio Fernandez and Luis Hidalgos. And it has been thriving since then.

What is Godello ?

It is a lesser known grape which nearly went into oblivion but is now revived, so people in majority do not know how it should actually taste, which means that the winemaker can create their own impression on it and it will thus taste different from one wine maker to another. This hidden gem is normally distinguished by briny lemon and grapefruit flavors whereas the premium quality can show smoky mineral flavors. When the wine is well made, we get the unique minerality. The essence of salt comes from the coastal region’s ocean air where the grapes are cultivated. Most Godellos are fermented in steel barrels whereas oak barrels are not widely used in fermenting Godello. Godello’s acidity plays a very important role in giving its unique gravely flavor.

Godello Food pairing:

It is grown in coastal regions which makes it taste the best when paired with fleshy sea food and brings out and accentuates the flavors of a dish if essentially the dish has cilantro or lime due to its acidic nature. As we know wine and cheese go hand in hand, Godello brings out its own umami and fruity flavors when paired with a rich and creamy cheese. It gives a range of textures so it also makes a great alternative for Chardonnay lovers. Wine writer, who also happened to be a lover of Godello wine, often claimed that “it has the structure of white Burgundy”.


Godello can benefit from a little air, in absence of this little air it has a tendency of developing slight unpleasant or off – aroma, but too much lees stirring can cause harm and the wine can develop flabbiness in the wine and to its extreme case it can cause oxidation. Aeration often relaxes the drink, making it smoother and better in aroma, flavor and texture. Older wines or aged wines generally fade their texture and aroma because of extended aeration. Godello should be tasted as soon as the bottle is opened and poured. Micro climatic conditions also produce slightly different expressions of Godello.

Anyway the climatic condition is even throughout the whole Galician. It has prolonged warm and dry weather that lasts about 8 months in a year. As a result, Godello wines are likely to be Bone-dry, high in alcohol up to 15% with medium to high levels of acidity. It does not have any other flavor elements added such as chocolate, vanilla or coffee.

In the vineyards, Godello is identified and characterized by its small berry-like size which is found in small packed bunches. It ripens early and sustains dry climate conditions. Godello has to be kept away from mildew, fungal diseases and rot. The Valdeorras region has the greatest success of the plantations of this rare variety with a steady increase in production. In particular the grapes are abundant in Valdeorras which means “valley of gold” in Spanish.

Taste profile and Handling:

  • Bone-dry (it means that it feels dry in the mouth or it will in fact dry out completely. Dry wine has a very less amount of residual sugar).
  • Light Body (wines under 12.5% alcohol are called light body wine)
  • None Tannins (Tannins in wine come from places: the skins, stems, and seeds of grapes and the oak barrels wine is often aged in which normally gives the wine the color and aroma)
  • Medium to High Acidity ( high acidity gives it a sour, zesty, citrus flavor)
  • 13.5-15% ABV (ABV is the global standard of measurement for alcohol content)
  • Godello is served at 45-55 degree Fahrenheit/ 7-12 degree Celsius (cellar temperature).
  • Served generally in white glasses and is consumed right after pouring it into the glass from the bottle.
  • No decant (decanting is an act of pouring wine into a special breathable container just for breathing).
  • Godello can be kept in cellar or it is in its prime within 3-5 years (it tastes the best within this time)

Primary flavors:

Grapefruit, Lemon Zest, Quince, Crushed Gravel, Saline.

Godello can be best paired with Cilantro and Lime.

Why should people choose Godello?

  • It is a native grape which was largely forgotten and was on the verge of extinction, and it was rescued and revived by local agricultural heroes to preserve their heritage.
  • It is fermented in stainless steel tanks or wood vats / barrels or a combination of both of them. The unique stainless steel tanks bring out its texture and taste of minerality even more.
  • It is a great comparison or alternative to America’s go to wine, Chardonnay.
  • It is a great accompaniment with meaty seafood such as scallops. A great option for seafood and wine lovers!
  • The acidity of Godello gives it more of a sour taste and its aftertaste is sweet. Due to its bone-dry nature the residual sweetness is less.
  • It is bright yellow in color, Godello has the capability of ageing and it benefits from ageing as well, but it is the most delicious when drunk young that is up to 5 years of age.
  • The granite, slate and clay-ridden area in combination with the tropical and maritime climate produces the earthy, fresh wine with lemon and mineral flavors. The aroma is more like a conjunction of �cut grass and wet stone’.
  • In spite of its distinct taste, Godello’s versatility is able to satisfy a lot of taste palates all over the world.
  • You love Spanish wine, but you are confused which one to go for. Without a second thought you can sip on a glass of Godello!
  • Just like Chardonnay, the taste of Godello varies from vintage to vintage, vineyard to vineyard, and winemaker to wine maker, thus a small change can alter the texture and aroma of Godello. This reason makes Godello a target for wine lovers who hail from different places.

Difference in characteristics of Chardonnay and Godello:

Both are full bodied, palate filling, zesty with citrus flavors but the styles can be interpreted in various ways by different wine makers or producers. Godello responds quickly to a change between different climatic conditions. Godello and Chardonnay may come in comparison in their similarities in taste but they differ a lot from each other on many criteria. They both are rich and creamy in taste but unoaked Godello has its distinct umami mineral flavor than oaked Chardonnay. Unoaked Godello is truly capable of showing the real capabilities of the rare grape. Godello can be drier than Chardonnay, Godello has a fresh and limey flavor on the palate, due to its fermentation in stainless steel tanks or barrels it has got its proper distinction in the mineral department which is not a nature or characteristic of Chardonnay. Godello brings out more of the Tropical ripe fruit flavors than Chardonnay. Occasionally Godello can be slight spritzy as a little amount of carbon dioxide gas might get dissolved in the process which is eliminated once the bottle of wine is opened.

Godello Wine Cost

A normal bottle of Godello can approximately cost from $ 15 US Dollars up to $ 40 US Dollars.

Now, if you visit Spain or Portugal, we hope you won’t be confused anymore on which wine to choose or if you love Spanish wine but haven’t tried yet ,what else could be a better option for you?

Your answer is nothing other than a bottle of Godello.

Next time if you pass by a winery in Spain don’t hesitate to pick a bottle of Godello or gift it to someone nearby.

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