Gorvia Blanco is a single vineyard wine made by Bodegas Quinta da Muradella in the DO region of Monterrei. Just above the border of Portugal in northwestern Spain, Monterrei is part of an area whose rich geology was once prized by the Romans for mining, notably gold. Ancient findings have confirmed that the Romans are responsible for another of the area's treasures, vineyards. Winemaker and proprietor Jose Luis Mateo coined the vineyard name, "Gorvia".The philosophy behind Gorvia is to produce a vino de finca (single vineyard wine) from the northwestern side of the region, in the Pazos de Monterrei subzone, from grape varieties planted during the region's third historic period in the 1980s. All grapes are certified organic and the viticulture is biodynamic. Gorvia Blanco is made from Dona Blanca, a white grape historically viewed as inferior and used to make orujo, the local name for grappa. Jose Luis has done relentless work recuperating old vineyards, and his efforts have shown the quality potential of the region's grapes. Their wines have earned accolades from The Wine Advocate and Guia Peñin.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Single Vineyard wine, Organic viticulture. This grape makes a wine that can age. Small production. Gorvia Blanco is a white wine with the soul of a red wine.
RATING HISTORY: 2013 94 W&S, 2013 93WA; 2012 94 W&S "Year's Best Galician Wines"; 2011 92WA & IWC; 2010 94W&S; 2010 93IWC; 2008 93IWC; 2007 92RP; 2006 92RP
GRAPE: 100% Dona Blanca. Organically grown (certified) vines planted in 1987. Tended in decomposed slate and clay soil at 420 meters (1,378ft.) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: With very expressive, high pitched, floral and chalky aromas, this powerhouse, gutsy white wine will bring things to mind that pair well with Grand Cru Chablis, single vineyard Pouilly-Fuissé wines and northern Rhone whites. Fresh oysters, razor clams, shrimp; peaky toe crab and lobster are perfect, as well as a broad range of flavorful deep-sea fish like swordfish, tuna, yellowtail, John Dory, red snapper, tilapia and Chilean sea bass. Don't forget any richly flavored soft cheeses.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: There is a pre-fermentation maceration or “cold soak” for 48 hours to increase the flavors and body in the wine followed by a gentle racking to separate the must from the thick, gross lees or solids left after crush. Fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks to retain the grape's pure, fresh and unadulterated aromas and flavors. The wine is aged for 8-9 months in 500-liter French oak barrels that are three years old, with an additional 6 months in stainless steel tank and 6 months in bottle before release.
PRODUCTION: 160 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The winery's vineyards are located in Zone 1, towards the interior of Galicia, close to the Portuguese border. The Gorvia vineyard is 1.2 hectares (3 acres) at 460 meters (1,500 ft.) elevation, within the northern district of Pazos de Monterrei on the west side of the Tamega River. The soils are red clay and slate stone, situated on a medium slope with a 3% gradient and southern exposure. The climate is Atlantic with a Continental influence. Monterrei is one of the Galician appellations furthest from the Atlantic Ocean. This inland Continental setting brings a drier and warmer climate than western Galician regions. Here, there's an average 23 inches of yearly rainfall while closer to the water in Rias Baixas, the average is 93 inches.
TASTING NOTES: It has a precise note of curry in the nose, I guess from the reduction in bottle, which is very attractive and makes you go back to the glass over and over again. Part of the full clusters fermented in stainless steel and part in an oval oak foudre, all with indigenous yeasts This is completely unusual for Dona Blanca, which is used to produce light and fruit-driven wines and this one is much more profound, with great freshness and acidity and seems to have a long life ahead, given the acidity and minerality. The best Dona Blanca on earth!
All photos: Friederike Paetzold