Wine for Christmas: Tasting and pairing Galician white wines

Year after year, approximately in these dates (October or November) some friends from Galicia, who enjoy good food and good drink, come to visit us. This time, I suggested organising a tasting and pairing session with them and, of course, they agreed with delight!

We enjoyed a delicious selection which helps to start thinking of the Christmas wine, since they are a perfect suggestion if we do have to buy wine for these special dates.

Pedralonga albariño 2010
Pedralonga Albariño 2010

Nowadays, Francisco Alonso, a descendant of a long tradition vine-growers family, runs Pedralonga, a winery located in the Umia valley which is part of the designation of origin Rías Baixas. Pedralonga’s vineyards are under the influence of an Atlantic climate and grow at the foot of the Xiabre Mountain on granite soils which provide the wines with minerality.

The work conducted in the vineyard is based on the respect of Mother Nature and the moon cycles. Some of the criteria followed in the vines growing are herein explained. During the waning moon, the vines stay drowsy. That is the time to prune all the unproductive endings. On the other hand, during the waxing moon, the vines sprout and expand and it is the time to conduct a production pruning, which will provide the vine shoots with the energy they need.

Tasting report:
This wine has an intense aroma of acid fruits such as grapefruit, green apple and lime. Some notes of milk and flowers are also noticed. In the mouth, it is a fresh, unctuous and mineral wine with a very well integrated acidity, which makes it long and balanced. It is a wine with very nice nose and palate, with lots of energy and vitality.

Avanthia Godello 2010 Avanthia Godello 2010

Avanthia, a winery which belongs to the group Orowines, is located in Ourense and is part of the designation of origin Valdeorras. Its production of 10.000 bottles is limited to two wines, a white Godello wine and a red Mencía wine. The Godello vines are aged of 40 years and are located on very steep slopes of slate soils, which provide the wine with highly aromatic varietal notes and contribute to a good grape ripening.

The oenologist that is behind its production, Amy Hopkinson, from New Zealand uses 500 and 600 l barrels in its elaboration. These big French oak recipients are used to stabilise the wine and to provide a subtle aromatic touch to it without hiding the variety’s typical aromas.

Tasting report:
First of all, some notes of quite ripe white fruit and citrus are noticed along with the vegetal aromas typical of the variety. Its fizziness provides it with a wider aromatic intensity and complexity, a background of creamy notes and aromas of nuts, reminiscent of the oak in which it was aged. This wine has a sweet attack followed by a very balanced and integrated acidity, which stays all along the palate and makes this wine very pleasant, long and persistent. During its ageing this wine’s minerality is reinforced providing it with an unctuous texture and bitter touches.

Nora da Neve Barrica Blanco 2007 Nora da Neve Barrica Blanco 2007

The winery Bodega Viña Nora is located in the most Southern part of the designation of origin Rías Baixas. This location provides a wonderful outlook of the river Miño.

The Albariño grapes with which the Nora da Neve is elaborated come from the winery’s oldest vineyard, with the peculiarity that it has pebble soils, which provide the wine with a higher concentration and power and are essential for the correct ripening of the grapes.

Josephine Perry, the Australian oenologist behind this wine, produces this wine with a meticulous elaboration process, extracting the utmost out of the grapes and the terroir and providing the wine with a wooden touch subtle enough not to hide its notes of fruit.

Tasting report:
In the nose, a touch of exotic fruits, aromatic herbs such as bay leaf or fennel are felt along with some floral and citric hints. When the wine opens up, some smoked, balsamic and creamy notes provided by the barrels are also noticed. In the mouth, this is a wide, tasty and creamy wine. Its notes of fruit and wood and its acidity are very well balanced. It has a long finish and a subtle but very nice bitter touch.

Gorvia Blanco 2006Gorvia Blanco 2006

Together with the oenologist Raúl Pérez, José Luis Mateo produces the wines of the winery Quinta da Muradella, within the designation of origin Monterrey. 14 hectares of vineyards are cultivated with more than ten different grape varieties. They conduct an environmentally friendly agriculture, based on the moon cycles.

In the winery, the varieties undergo a separate winemaking, so that an endless amount of varietal wines is obtained. The ageing of its wines is marked by the efforts to highlight the varietal aromas of the grapes and those typical of the area where they were grown.

Tasting report:
This is a great white wine made of Doña Blanca. It is a very different wine.
Its aromas are subtle and diverse. They are reminiscent of stone white fruit, flowers, herbs and citrus and have light aromas provided during its ageing such as those of bakery and spices. In the mouth, it is direct and unctuous and shows a balanced and persistent acidity. It is an expressive elegant and refined wine.

To sum up, my friends liked the wines a lot, but the best arrived when Imma served the plates of fresh shell-fish bought the very same morning in the fish market in Vigo. I do not want to make you green with envy, but this kind of such a fresh and tasty shell-fish (goose barnacles, oysters, crabs, scallops, lobsters, spider crabs, cockles…) is not easily found in Barcelona. I think the pairing of most of the wines and shell-fish was fabulous, or maybe there was also some influence of the atmosphere, the talk, the hunger but mainly of the good quality of all what we ate and drank. As we always say, this is the culture of good eating and good drinking, don’t you think so?

Next year, we’ll do it again.

Quim Piera

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