Valdeorras is the easternmost DO (Denominación de Origen) in the autonomía of Galicia. Its location has earned it the unofficial title “Gateway to Galicia.” Known for its wines in Roman times, Valdeorras has made huge strides in recovering its native grapes in the last thirty years and in making distinctive varietal wines assisted by the most advanced technology in the field. The Valdeorras DO was established in 1945.
The earliest settlers of Galicia are believed to be the Celts. Archaeological evidence of the Celtic Gauls (from which the name Galicia is derived) dates back to the 6th century BC. This pre-Christian heritage still permeates much of the visible culture today. Ancient stone granaries are found everywhere, known locally as hórreos. These storage units vary in size and are supported by mushroom-shaped, stubby legs to keep critters out of the food source.
In terms of cuisine, the coastal influence is felt in Galicia more than any other region in Spain. Nearly everything the ocean has to offer is utilized in both new and time-tested preparations. Particularly popular dishes are octopus, hake, sardines, and cod. A local specialty is the percebes or goose foot barnacle, which resemble an asparagus stalk containing a delicious and well-protected sliver of meat.
The landscape of Valdeorras is dominated by the River Sil, which originates in the Cordillera Cantabrica mountain range to the north. The name “Valdeorras” means Valley of Gold, and the fertile alluvial soil in the river valleys provide a hospitable home for vineyards. As Galicia's most inland region, Valdeorras has a predominantly Continental climate.
Valdeorras is known for its unique and complex Godello wines, which provide varietal characters of citrus fruit, herbs and mineral/earthy notes. Less prominent, but appealing in its own right, Mencía forms the basis of most of the red wines produced here. It displays rich, fruity characters and can appear as varietally or blended, often with Garnacha. “Valdeorras Superior” can be used on labels for quality wines which contain at least 80% Godello or Mencía.
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