Value Vino: Uncorking the new whites

Probably not. Until recently, godello was a white wine grape that had not even been a blip on my radar. But as is often the case with wines-new-to-me, godello, a product of Spain's eastern Galicia, was brought to my attention by Woody de Luna of Vintages 2.0, and it became an instant favorite. No, it may not be the new white Burgundy as some are claiming, but give it time. And then expect the price to rise.

The wine I tasted was the 2008 Val de Sil Godello "Sobre Lias" with a Valdeorras D.O. Valdeorras being the specific region of Galicia that is home to most godello. (Albarino is Galicia's other, and slightly better known, grape.) The color was golden straw, and the nose was WOW — with honeyed, baked apple leaping from the glass. There was also a slight toasty-yeasty quality from having been left on the lees, or spent yeast, for several months to develop complexity. Oh yeah — there were some of those ubiquitous white flowers, too, a hedgy term wine writers like to use when they can't isolate anything in particular.

On the palate, the wine was just acidic enough, there was a minerally limestone quality, and melon and citrus vied for dominance. At the end of each sip, there was an adios of woody nuttiness. I sourced this wine at Vintages 2.0 for somewhere around $20, if I recall, and later came across it at Saglimbeni Fine Wines, where there were two other godellos — the Pazo de Monterrei (around $16) and the more luxurious Avanthia Godello (around $32) from Jorge Ordonez and Bodegas Godeval, who apparently have white Burgundy aspirations. (Godello, BTW, is occasionally blended with treixadura, but I'll spare you that one for now.)

The Saturday tasting bar at Joe Sag's was the source of another varietal new to me, the white grape jacquère, a stalwart (who knew?) on the lower slopes of the massif de la Savoyarde in eastern France. The 2011 Charles Gonnet Vin de Savoie Chignin rang up at $20 less the weekend discount, and it was well worth the scratch. It was also quite different from the godello. The nose was more one of green plum and Granny Smith apple, with hints of elderflower (think St. Germaine liqueur). On the palate, "not like anything else" say my notes, there was green fig and apple along with a bit of mineral. Honeysuckle emerged as the wine warmed; on the second day some ripe pear appeared, suggesting that this is a wine worth savoring slowly.

Yes, sometimes the cork does go back in the bottle.