Bodegas Valdesil owns the oldest Godello vines in the world, 136 year-old great-grandmother vines set in the slate terroir of the Pedrouzos peza (the Galician word for vineyard parcel). Planted in 1885 by José Ramón Gayoso, Pedrouzos was followed by a number of other pezas in the Valdeorras, all planted massale from the original Godello vines. Over the course of the 20th Century, the family sold off most of their vineyard holdings, but in 2001, brothers Borja and Raúl Prada-Gayoso began buying back those precious parcels. Today the vineyards are once again all in the family, and the genetic material from those oldest vines continues to bear fruit in the newer plantings. The majority of the pezas are set on the native Valeorras slate— mainly Upper Devonian black slate, but also including some less common grey, green, and blue slates. A few smaller sites are on granite and schist. The climate in Valdeorras is mostly Atlantic, but it’s the driest district of Galicia, with its high elevation — 1,700 to 3,000 feet — and a rain shadow from the mountains that often blocks the wettest Atlantic weather systems. The wines from Valdesil are unique, cellar-worthy, and speak profoundly of their terroir. The top wines develop an almost chablisienne quality over time in the bottle. The introductory wines are more about the pure pleasure of slate-inflected Godello and Mencía.
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