Ossian Winery | Spanish Wine Lover

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This is an essential producer for white wine lovers. Vineyards are located in the province of Segovia (Castilla y León, northwest of Madrid), most of them in the village of Nieva where the winery stands. All of the vines are within the boundaries of the Rueda appellation but the wines are sold as VT Castilla y León.

The project was launched in 2005 by local winegrower Ismael Gozalo and Javier Zaccagnini, former director of the Ribera del Duero’s Regulatory Board who currently runs his own project in this appellation. The aim at Ossian was to explore the huge potential of extremely old Verdejo vines grown in this area of Segovia. The region’s sandy soils kept phylloxera at bay —it had a very small impact here. In fact this is one of the major spots for pre-phylloxera vines in Spain, with ungrafted plantings being the norm until the mid-20th century. Wines from this area tend to be less aromatic (expect white fruit and herbs in contrast with exotic fruit and herbaceous aromas), but in turn it offers structure and minerality.

Since January 2016 the Ruiz family, owners of Pago de Carraovejas in Ribera del Duero, is the only stakeholder after buying Zaccagnini’s shares and part of Gozalo’s in 2013 and recently those remaining in hands of the Nieva’s winegrower. The renowned white wine specialist Rafael Palacios (As Sortes, Valdeorras) acts now as Ossian’s wine consultant.

From its very beginning Ossian stood out for its commitment to organic practices sticking to natural compost and plant extracts as its main growing tools. Over the last years the Ruiz family have actively bought land in the area to reach 115Ha, 50 of which are prephylloxera or ungrafted vines; 20Ha are young vines and new plantings are expected to be introduced in the future. The goal is to increase production from the current 40,000 bottles to 150,000.

New labels have been designed for the 2017 vintage accompanied by a substantial change of style in the entry-level Quintaluna. It is now aged for nine months instead of four and includes some barrel-fermented and foudre-aged batches in the blend. The wine’s improved quality and consistency has brought a price rise from €7 to €13 but it still offers a lot for its price.

The winery’s flagship wine is Ossian (€25). This Verdejo —which we suggest to lay down for two to four years— comes from pre-phylloxera and/or very old ungrafted vines and it is aged for around nine months in different types of oak vessels, from 225-litre barrels to vats. Capitel (around €46) is more exclusive and limited; it is a single-vineyard wine sourced from one of Ossian’s oldest plots in the area of Cordel de las Merinas with distinctive schist patches that result in a mineral (briny) character.

The “Verdling” range is a result of employing Verdejo and German winemaking practices. The very unusual outcome is a dry (trocken) Verdling made with the assistance of Klaus Peter Keller that retails for around €21 in Spain and a sweet version (€16) made with Nick Weiss as consultant. In terms of winemaking, only natural yeasts are employed in all the wines made at Ossian.


Quintaluna 2014 Blanco
Ossian 2013 Blanco
Capitel 2013 Blanco
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